Office pools are a form of gambling done in the workplace. In some states they are illegal, and sometimes they are only against company policies (Obedience). When facing a scenario like the present one, it’s important to check the legal status of office pools (Diligence), and to consider that people have been fired and even arrested for participating in them (Memory).
It is true that some people, including CEOs, often believe that office pools help build morale and camaraderie, especially when employees are working well together (Friendship). However, it should be considered that, like any form of gambling, office pools are likely to generate major problems (Good Judgment). Money involved can be a relevant factor; with people winning and losing a lot, problems can escalate. People may have animosity toward each other, resentments, and fights can occur.
The desire to play more often leads to having more pools organized for the most trivial reasons. Gambling is addictive. Employees will spend an increasing amount of time organizing the pools, discussing them, checking how things are going (watching the super Bowl games, scores, etc.), which is basically stealing work hours from their company. Office pools can become the reason for poor performance (Good Deliberation).
Sometimes it is good to practice Flexibility and to allow for an exception (Equitable Judgment). However, an exception to a company rule can only be allowed by the management (Respect for Authority). Moreover, the positions of the stakeholders should be taken into account. Many of them may not like the idea of employees gambling within the company. Whatever their reasons (lack of productivity, religious beliefs about gambling, unseemly behavior in the workplace, etc.) and the number of people participating, the stakeholders’ interest and potential objections have to be considered (Loyalty).
In this scenario, it is certainly important to avoid damaging one’s working relationship with the other colleagues (Caution), but it is also important to act with Leadership, and to give them a good example with regard to the company’s policy and the dangers of gambling at work (Do Not Give Scandal).
Special Circumstances to Consider:
- If you were absolutely sure that the betting pool was a one-time exception.
- If the initiative came from the management to celebrate a special event in the company.
- If office betting pools were against the state’s law.
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Read Fulvio Di Blasi’s full bio here.