Decoding the Workplace
50 Keys to Understanding People in Organizations
by John Ballard, PhD
May 2015, 184pp, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-3826-2
$55, £43, 48€, A76
Please contact your preferred distributor for pricing.
Paperback: 978-1-4408-7419-2
$35, £27, 31€, A48
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eBook Available: 978-1-4408-3827-9
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How do dynamic aspects of your workplace—hidden to many, ignored by others—affect your success on the job and in your career?

This highly readable career development book reveals dynamic aspects of the workplace that are hidden to many, ignored by others—factors that can make or break careers.

There are many key questions about work that most individuals never consider. How can workplace norms affect our careers in powerful ways? How do sex-role stereotypes impact our behaviors? When are “teams” not teams? How does organizational culture profoundly affect your workplace? What questions should you ask yourself about your boss? What factors most affect job satisfaction and success?

Decoding the Workplace: 50 Keys to Understanding People in Organizations is a must-read for anyone wanting to better understand the workplace and become more effective and successful. Written by a former management consultant to the U.S. Air Force and a professor and organizational behavior scholar, this definitive work explains many of the dynamics at play in our organizations. Beyond being informative, insightful, and beneficial to any employee, regardless of job status or experience, it is highly readable, entertaining, and thought-provoking.


  • Provides easy-to-read information that allows readers to better understand the workplace around them, the behavior of others, and even themselves
  • Discusses 50 keys for unlocking the workplace and illustrates key concepts through dozens of stories and practical examples
  • Presents insights grounded in what management scholars know about human behavior, management, and the workplace
  • Offers proven advice that can help readers be more effective, regardless of what stage they are in their careers
John Ballard, PhD, is emeritus professor of management at Mount St. Joseph University, Cincinnati, OH. In 2013, Cincy magazine honored him as one of Cincinnati's Outstanding Educators. His website is


2016 Next Generation Indie Book Awards Winner in "Career" category—Next Generation Indie Book Awards, April 19, 2016


"Sound advice for interacting with others at work. Ballard covers a lot of territory, addressing such issues as the differences between people, working in groups, organizational structure and culture, how leaders gain power and influence, job satisfaction, and the meaning of work. . . . [S]ome of his observations . . . are sure to be eye-opening, particularly for younger workers . . . sure to be helpful to managers and lower-level workers alike. Astute and keenly observed business advice, yet down-to-earth in its use of real-world workplace examples and everyday language."—Kirkus Reviews, December 7, 2015

"[A] thoroughly 'user friendly' career development instructional guide. . . . Simply stated, Decoding the Workplace should be a part of ever MBA program as a curriculum supplement and would prove to be of practical and valuable instruction for anyone seeking to advance their career in a highly competitive corporate environment. Very strongly recommended for community, corporate, and academic library Business Management and Jobs/Careers reference collections."—Wisconsin Bookwatch, February 15, 2016

"Decoding the Workplace: 50 Keys to Understanding People in Organizations is as informed and informative a read as it is thoughtful and thought-provoking. . . . An absolute 'must' for community, corporate, and academic library Business Management Studies collections, Decoding the Workplace should be considered critically important reading for anyone working in a corporate environment." —Midwest Book Review, February 19, 2016

"For most books discussing current workplace issues, 3 yearsmight mean that a book is dated. But this is not the case with Decoding the Workplace . . . Is this a must-have for managers and would-be managers? Yes."—Academy of Management Learning & Education, June 27, 2018

"John Ballard breaks down the workplace into its parts and then shows how the parts work. His fundamental approach is insightful and should help anyone improve his or her 'people IQ.' "—Gregg Popovich, President and Head Coach, San Antonio Spurs

"Decoding the Workplace is a practical, no-nonsense guide that could not be more timely. It could help anyone better navigate the workplace. Easy to follow, the narrative is sprinkled liberally with real-life examples illustrating situations in which people find themselves while at work. This is a unique book that touches bases that similar books seem to ignore."—Stanley Krippner, PhD, Professor of Psychology, Saybrook University

“This is a must-read for people entering the workplace and is an insightful, comprehensive yet succinct reminder for those who are moving through their careers. Decoding the Workplace provides useful advice on thriving in the workplace using real-life examples supported by research and theories.”—Teri G. Fontenot, President and CEO, Woman’s Hospital, Baton Rouge, LA

"The organization shapes our behavior and leadership in ways we might not even know. Fortunately, John Ballard can help us shape our organizations. Decoding the Workplace is a practical, but evidence-based, guide to understanding and leading people you work with."—David Burkus, Author of Under New Management and The Myths of Creativity

Decoding the Workplace is grounded in solid management and illuminated by interesting stories. If you are new to the workplace or wondering why your career has stalled, it might be because you are missing the signals John Ballard describes. Doing a good job is important, but your ability to advance will depend on your ability to decode the often subtle aspects of organizational life. A great read, with practical applications that will help you navigate the workplace.”—Jesse Lyn Stoner, Coauthor of Full Steam Ahead
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