Using “cc” (carbon copy) on email, a seemingly harmless tool has become a weapon of passive aggressive office warfare. Here are 3 ways “cc” is used politically in the world of work.
1. CC for “e-tattling”.
Probably the most common strategy is including someones boss or a whole bunch of “higher ups” in the company to an email chain. The tactical purpose of this move is to cover ones back and to snitch on someone by including other people to bear witness to the electronic trail that provides evidence of that individuals inadequacy. This is also referred to as “cowards copy”.
2. CC to force a response.
There is that person that constantly cc’s your boss (and the whole world) every time they make a request, demonstrating that they do not trust you to respond timeously or to make you look bad if you turn down the request. In addition, this tactic also serves to escalate a matter in an underhanded manner.
3. CC for shameless self-promoting.
Individuals who want to look smart and busy to senior managers go out of their way to cc people unnecessarily. This tactic is particularly effective when the emails are sent out late at night or early in the morning to show commitment and provide visibility for their “hard work”.
What has been your experience with this?
Shah Fahad Hassan is a MS SPM grad from FAST and currently works as a Quality Assurance Test Manager in Proleadsoft.