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What Can We Learn from ‘The Office?’

posted by Nell Minow

NPR asks whether “The Office” should be used in HR training.

Though the show is clearly a caricature, there are grains of truth in the dysfunctional conflicts that drive its humor, says Sheri Leonardo, senior vice president for human resources at Ogilvy Public Relations.

“As an HR person, I sometimes cringe,” she said. “Some of the stuff is so outlandish, politically incorrect, morally incorrect and everything else — but at the same time I say, ‘God, I would love to take clips of this and use it for training, because it’s so perfect.’ “

A 30-year human resources veteran, Leonardo says that although the characters’ insensitivities are exaggerated, she can think of real people who fit many of the show’s office stereotypes: the out-of-touch and politically incorrect boss; the peace-keeping secretary; the ambitious underling who doesn’t care whose toes he steps on to suck up.

Does “The Office” remind you of anyone you know? Do you think people who resemble the characters in “The Office” are capable of enough self-awareness to learn from the show?

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