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Taking 'Office' Lessons from the World's Greatest (Inept) Boss

Taking 'Office' Lessons from the World's Greatest (Inept) Boss

Steve Carell plays the self-absobed leader of fictitious office-supply distributor Dunder Mifflin in NBC's comedy "The Office."

By Del Jones, USA TODAY

July 06, 2010

‘Dilbert’ creator is a big fan of the show

Dilbert cartoonist Scott Adams says he loves The Office and also sees similarities to his strip. “The lesson from The Office and from Dilbert is that people are often dysfunctional, and no amount of training can fix it,” Adams says.

“We’re all prone to make the same mistakes Michael Scott makes, creating perfunctory training sessions and then not walk the talk, or failing to recognize conflicts that are sapping the energy of the organization,” Spector says.

ACCO Brands (ABD) CEO David Campbell rarely watches The Office. But ACCO Brands, a large supplier of office products with 7,000 employees and $2 billion in annual revenue, is asking workers nationwide to submit photo nominations for “America’s Ugliest Office,” and so he agreed to take a look at the program’s set.

He says the only color and design comes from bobble heads and other personal items and that The Office set is designed with a lack of privacy in mind.

“It’s claustrophobic,” Campbell says. “Especially intrusive is the way Michael constantly peers out his office window, making workers feel that management is always looking over their shoulders. The artistic directors of this show really knew what they were doing to convey Dunder Mifflin as a struggling enterprise.”

One executive is happy that the Dunder Mifflin regional office in Pennsylvania struggles. “Michael Scott is a perfect example of failing to use your resources well,” says Chuck Rubin, president of North American retail for Office Depot (ODP). Rubin continues: “Michael doesn’t have the knowledge or leadership skills to be running an office effectively. Of course, since Dunder Mifflin could be considered among our competitors, I think Michael Scott is actually the perfect person to run their Scranton office.”

Contributing: Gary Levin