Human Resources in Popular Culture Essay

Human Resources in Popular Culture Essay

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Popular culture has shown many different portrayals of human resources (HR) over the years, however HR is rarely shown in a positive light. They go from being shown, or treated, as if they are evil and sadistic in some representations, to being depicted as overly friendly pushovers. There are many examples of these alternating stereotypes in the media, whether it be television shows, movies, or even comic strips.
One of the more extremely negative depictions of human resources in the media is the comic strip, Dilbert, written and illustrated by Scott Adams. This comic satirizes company and workplace issues. One of the reoccurring characters in the comic is named Catbert. Catbert is a cat and the “evil director of human resources” (Adams). He is best known for using his “random policy generator” (Adams) to come up with ridiculous regulations.
In one of the comic strips he is featured in, Catbert needs to keep payroll expenses low. In order to do this he forces his assistant to give all the employees bad reviews. Catbert proceeds to give the assistant a list of employee defects. The next picture shows the assistant listing off Dilbert’s defects as he gives him his yearly review. Dilbert becomes increasingly skeptical of the legitimacy of the review when he realizes his defects were “suspiciously alphabetical” (Adams).
This is, unfortunately, one of society’s views of HR workers that popular culture is trying to represent. Catbert is shown as greedy, evil, and sadistic. He is also shown as distant and removed from the situation as he delegates tasks that should be his to someone else. This is but one of the pieces of evidence that support the corrupt and greedy stereotype of HR that has evolved from society’s fear of human resources....

... middle of paper ...

...ment. Popular culture may make you fear HR departments, but in the end, they are just people. And if they are anything like Karen Powell, there is no need to be afraid.

Works Cited

Adams, Scott. Dilbert. Comic strip. Dilbert by Scott Adams, 7 May 2010. Web
“Casino Night” The Office. NBC. 11 May 2006. Television.
“Conflict Resolution” The Office. NBC. 4 May 2006. Television.
“Dry Guys” Workaholics. Comedy Central. 3 April 2013. Television.
“The Egg Salad Equivalency” The Big Bang Theory. CBS. 3 Jan. 2013. Television.
“Frame Toby” The Office. NBC. 20 November 2008. Television.
Kreissl, Brian. “Improving HR’s Image” Canadian HR Reporter. The National Journal of Human Resource Management. 26 July 2011. Web. 20 Feb 2014.
Office Space. Dir. Mike Judge. Perf. Ron Livingston and Jennifer Aniston. 20th Century Fox, 1999. Film.
Powell, Karen. Personal Interview. Email.

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