The Office of Strategic Services (OSS) was the predecessor to the CIA. In 1994 they published a ‘Simple Sabotage Field Manual’ explaining how ordinary people could sabotage organizations with “no destructive tools whatsoever” simply by adopting a “non-cooperative attitude” or by “creating an unpleasant situation among one’s fellow workers”. The following sabotage ideas are taken from the section called “General Interference with Organizations and Production” (page 28).
- Insist on doing everything through “channels.” Never permit short-cuts to be taken in order to expedite decisions.
- When possible, refer all matters to committees, for “further study and consideration.” Attempt to make the committees as large as possible — never less than five.
- Bring up irrelevant issues as frequently as possible.
- Haggle over precise wordings of communications, minutes, resolutions.
- Refer back to matters decided upon at the last meeting and attempt to re-open the question of the advisability of that decision.
- Advocate “caution.” Be “reasonable” and urge your fellow-conferees to be “reasonable” and avoid haste which might result in embarrassments or difficulties later on.
- Be worried about the propriety of any decision — raise the question of whether such action as is contemplated lies within the jurisdiction of the group or whether it might conflict with the policy of some higher echelon.
- Work slowly. Think out ways to increase the number of movements necessary on your job
- Do your work poorly and blame it on bad tools, machinery, or equipment. Complain that these things are preventing you from doing your job right.
- Never pass on your skill and experience to a new or less skillful worker.
These examples of “sabotage” should make us think carefully about how destructive ineffective processes, risk-aversion, and selfishness can be to any organization.