Stockholm Syndrome refers to the psychological phenomenon observed in hostage situations where the hostages start to identify and sympathize with their captor. The captor controls the life source of the captive; also the punishment and the reward.
Because work has a great impact in our lives, we are at risk for experiencing Corporate Stockholm Syndrome – a thing that happens when employees begin to identify with an employer who mistreats them (like bullying behaviors or just ignoring the emotional needs of the employee).
Of course, there is a difference between being held captive in the workplace and being held captive in a real-life hostage scenario, but the employee experiencing Corporate Stockholm Syndrome displays a tendency to become emotionally attached to the company to the detriment of their emotional health. The employee will also rationalize the poor treatment as necessary for the good of the organization as a whole, and he will defend the employer’s actions.
Do you think that this is not possible? You didn’t have any friend who was complaining (several times) about his work and you asked him why he doesn’t change the job? And his answer was that is not so bad or he will not find something better than this. Well... this is a good start for this.
Breaking the cycle is hard, but choosing to do nothing and hoping to outlast it is a frequent option. Very similar to other negative phenomena that can happen into the organizations, for an employee it is important to be aware of his state, to name it and to ask for help. We can feel that is not fair to leave a job or a team – it is not fair for them. On the other side, if we stay in that environment and we feel bad, it is not fair for us. Can you live with this?