Is lowering employee's self-esteem a practised management technique?

This question has been put on hold for being unclear, but I thought it seems like a pretty straight forward question, (even if it does apparently irk some rankles).


The best Workplace Stack Exchange questions are about real, everyday problems that people face in the workplace and that attract objective, fact-based answers, or answers based on experiences backed up either with an explanation or with reference material to help support assertions.

Questions that don't involve a real problems are difficult to handle objectively on our platform. Such questions tend to devolve into discussion, either in comments or in answers themselves (which should be used only to provide full, standalone answers to the question).

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You've presented interesting ideas, and it is an interesting topic, but the essence of the question is to simply confirm something that you believe to be true. So far, there's one good answer, based on direct personal experience, but after that, things become a little unclear:

  • There's one detailed answer that includes some data related to public schools. The question appears to ask for studies related to a certain bad management practice, and it's not clear how this data justifies such actions. I suspect this could be clarified with some edits from the answerer.

  • The two answers at the bottom basically speculate. They're best guesses, and they are not what we're looking for according to the how should I answer section in the help center.

With that said, it may be possible to focus the question a little more strongly on a clear goal. Here's what I suggest:

  • In the section where you talk about this being a good technique, you mention Google. It's not clear whether you're suggesting Google practices these techniques or that they don't practice them. I'd suggest clarifying that part or possibly even removing the company name as different people react differently to these company names. In short, try to stick to facts, things known to be true to avoid biasing answers or distracting answerers from the goal of the question.

  • Instead of confirming what you believe to be true, your question might have even more value if you can focus on ways to combat this management technique. I suspect you're asking this question because you are either facing this problem as a manager yourself, or you're facing it as an employee working for such a manager. Focusing on providing details about your specific problem (assuming you are facing this problem) will lead to solutions to that problem.

As a community dedicated to questions about navigating the professional workplace, I'd like to see us make more use out of the tools provided by Stack Exchange. Our chat room is a great place to hold in-depth discussion about the pitfalls of different management topics and to share research. As our site continues to grow, chat will play an important role in filling the gaps that can't be filled on the Q&A portion of the site.

Also, we've been talking about starting a community blog, and the results of research about bad management practices and how to overcome them (as a manager yourself) or how to effectively deal with them (as an employee) could arguably make for a great article.

As much as I'd like to give you more ideas to make this work here in the Q&A portion of the site, I honestly don't think it can work in the way that you're hoping to. Speculative questions are great for learning and great for discussion, but these tend to do a lot better in areas more fit for discussion. Hope this helps and thanks for participating.


I think the question was clear, but very odd.

  • 1
    What wasn't clear is the problem to be solved. That's what is missing from speculative questions. Feel free to make some edits if you happen to see the problem and can make that more clear. I suspect the asker may be the person to do that in this case, but feel free to give it a shot.
    – jmort253
    Apr 14 '14 at 0:28
  • Fair enough. The question was "Is there any evidence that management actively discuss and practise this technique?" I think that's a clear question demanding a yes or no answer. While I think it was really not a serious question and that it probably deserved to be closed, I think the reason for closing was perhaps not 100% appropriate. If it were closed as "not a useful question", that would have been appropriate. Apr 14 '14 at 0:34
  • "Is there any evidence" kind questions are a slippery road. Since asker doesn't know, there's always a chance that there is an overwhelming amount of evidence, so that question may have 20... 30... 50 nice authoritative "equally valid" answers. As an answerer, my own experience with gimme evidence questions at Workplace was rather negative. Yeah I've got some of 'em repz, but it left a pretty bitter taste in my mouth, I tend to avoid answering these since
    – gnat
    Apr 14 '14 at 5:43
  • Looking at this comment, the question itself apparently doesn't seem to match the answers, geekrunner was looking for.
    – CMW
    Apr 14 '14 at 8:55

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