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By FRANCESCA DONNER
May 18, 2011
In a perfect workplace, credit would be given where credit is due, colleagues wouldn't steal others' ideas, and managers would reward staff for taking measured risks even if the outcome wasn't successful.
In reality, bosses often pass off employees' ideas as their own, employees tend to shun blame, and finger-pointing can become so rife it becomes almost impossible to determine what actually went wrong in the first place. That can erode trust and teamwork, and stifle creativity.
Ben Dattner, an organizational psychologist and founder of Dattner Consulting, believes that credit and blame lie at the psychological core of the workplace. He sees credit as a proxy for evolution, learning and adaptation and blame as a proxy for reactive, reflexive and backward-looking behavior.
Author of The Blame Game: How Hidden Rules of Credit and Blame Determine Our Success or Failure, Mr. Dattner talked to The Wall Street Journal about the importance of risk-taking, why women are more likely to be scapegoats and how managers can strategically bestow credit to everyone's advantage.