cover image Brutal Bosses

Brutal Bosses

Harvey A. Hornstein. Riverhead Hardcover, $19.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-1-57322-020-0

As American corporations accelerate their downsizing and proclaim their dedication to ""leaner"" staffing, the pressure on bosses increases: they are ordered to do more with less. Therein lies the issue confronted by Hornstein (Social Intervention), a psychology professor at Columbia University and a psychotherapist, after eight years of work and interviews with more than 1000 workers. He opens by listing the eight deadly sins bosses can commit: deceit, constraint, coercion, selfishness, inequity, cruelty, disregard and deification. Then he classifies brutal bosses as executioners, dehumanizers, blamers, rationalizers, conquerors, performers and manipulators, some because they are neither sensitive nor introspective, others because they are bullies; many of them, he reports, are backed by their superiors or peers. Of three conceivable remedies--changing the victims, changing the abusers and changing the system--he views only the last as feasible and then presents six survival skills to help the abused. (Mar.)