Scapegoat - SCAPEGOAT 1 Scapegoating Within a Public...

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SCAPEGOAT 1 Scapegoating Within a Public Accounting Group Terrance McKnight Teachers College – Columbia University
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SCAPEGOAT 2 Scapegoating Within a Public Accounting Group The author of this paper was formerly an external auditor for a public accounting firm. Like many companies in financial services, the firm performs its tasks through workgroups of two to ten individuals, sometimes from different offices. Members of the teams oftentimes have never worked together; it is not uncommon for the members to have never met. The workgroup in which the author was a member was no different. The group was comprised of eight individuals from three offices in the Southeast. Six of the eight members were new to the project, the purpose of which was to audit the financial statements of a regional bank. The primary task of a group is survival (McRae, 2010); this task often goes unnoticed, as it is not tangible, and normally an unconscious process. Any member of the aforementioned group, if asked what the primary task was, would have likely said that the main goal of the group was to complete the audit; survival was not important, because it was not imperative to any of the members’ future success that they work together after completion of the project. Members solely had a working relationship; for example, although the project required each member to travel out of town, no members coming from the same city carpooled with one another. Though the group was called a team internally, the members’ individual work was often independent from others’ work; thus, members often never felt the need to confer about work-related processes. Thus, it could be said that the sum of the group’s whole was close to equal to the sum of its parts. In addition, there was competition within the group, as all but one of the members was in their first year of eligibility for promotion after completion of the project. There were a finite number of spaces available for promotion; thus, any two team members with the same position were competing with one another, which does not support a collaborative work environment. This group indeed embodied a stereotypical Western-cultured frame of mind, as
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SCAPEGOAT 3 they attempted to tackle collaborative matters while having the perspective of an individualist; this often leads to problems within groups, because the overall interest of the group is not held more importantly than the separate agendas of the group’s members. This latter fact should have been a concern of the author, as his voluntary separation from
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This note was uploaded on 06/01/2011 for the course ORL 1000 taught by Professor Buontempo during the Spring '11 term at Columbia.

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Scapegoat - SCAPEGOAT 1 Scapegoating Within a Public...

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