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Desk envy: A new employee notices the strikingly visible and well-proportioned desk of a manager or senior executive immediately recognising it as the superior counterpart of his or her own little desk and from then on he or she is subject to desk envy. They have seen it, knowing that they do not have it, and want it.

In desk-dominated organizations, patients displaying the symptoms of desk envy express a wish to take possession of a larger desk at any cost. Management within these organizations have learned to use this uncontrollable urge for a large desk as a motivational tool and have started introducing a variety of desk sizes within the office, while keeping the largest desks for themselves. To paraphrase Jean Cournot the thing about which there is most consensus in this world, much more than the notion of common sense, is the difference between desk sizes. Recent research has empirically shown that emphasizing the difference in desk size can become fatal to an organization.

Treatment: The cure is very simple by keeping all the desks the same size the organization will avoid desk envy. Care however should be taken not to make the desks too small as this might lead to a desk inferiority complex. Patients who suffer from a desk inferiority complex might catch, while visiting other companies, office envy.

Our company president suffered terribly from desk envy, he always wanted to have the largest desk in the organization. When he retired his desk filled the whole room so he had to move in and out of his room through the window.
by WorkVitamins March 13, 2008
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