Office Hostages is a book about people’s psychological relationship with work. Its central concept is that many people form psychological relationships with their employers akin to those that emerge between hostages and their captors. This site shares a few of the stories and thinking behind this concept.
What does this actually mean? A number of perverse psychological conditions emerge in hostage–captive relationships, and there is compelling evidence that they also occur in the workplace. The most famous of these is Stockholm Syndrome, whereby hostages feel bizarre, paradoxical gratitude for small acts of kindness performed by those who hold them prisoner. Other conditions include ‘coercive persuasion’ – the pressures that cause people to act in a manner at odds with their own inherent morality, sometimes with tragic consequences – and ‘cognitive dissonance’ – the mental gymnastics people employ to justify their world-views and actions in the face of compelling evidence telling them that they are wrong.
Why not take the test below to see if you might be an office hostage?