Behaviour “that is repetitive, that occurs at high personal and social cost, and that occurs despite knowledge of these costs is termed addictive” (Spiga, 2002, p. 510). Process addiction is an addiction to a way or process of acquiring the addictive substance. The function of addiction is to keep people out of touch of themselves (Rice, 1998).
To be powerless is to be devoid of the strength or capacity to act. Certain feelings of powerlessness happen to a person when he or she deems that he or she cannot do or express what he or she truly wants.
An example scenario of powerlessness inside the workplace would be: A maintenance personnel’s work is limited to performing cleaning and sanitation work in accordance with relevant procedures and guidelines; maintaining a clean facility; picking up trash from cans; enforcing sanitary requirements; and performing preventive maintenance on mechanical and electrical equipment. Concisely, the maintenance personnel should only ensure the cleanliness and efficiency of equipment inside the office.
This means that he does not have an access to the electronic data files that office workers have access to. Also, he does not have access to the use of online document or gaming sources.
First, the type of job that the maintenance personnel hold is considered to be on the lower level in the organizational structure of the office. This means that the power he or she has over the use of the equipment and materials in the office is very limited; he or she is deemed powerless in terms of office material usage.
The limitations presented on the part of the maintenance personnel could be a high motivation for him or her to make use of the office equipment when he or she sees that nobody knows about it. The powerlessness invoked by the type of job could lead into creating a habitual stealthy use of the office equipment, particularly office computers. He or she may then intend to make use of the equipment after office hours and when nobody is present, and this habit may turn to be an addictive behaviour in the end.
Powerlessness may invoke two different effects; the one as have just been laid out, and the second effect could be restorative; powerlessness, upon knowledge of this concept, may prevent the personnel’s sneaky usage of the computer by attributing powerlessness as a self-concept. Learned powerlessness becomes self-perpetuating, even if the external forces are no longer there.
Because the personnel learned that powerlessness in his case meant being on the odd side of the hierarchy, he rebelled on this powerlessness, turning into an addictive behaviour. If he had knowledge of the powerlessness as a self-concept and not exactly the product of an external force, i.e. the office hierarchy, then he would be able to understand that the addictive behaviour of stealthy computer use may be prevented.
There is a necessity for those with addictive behaviour to “shift their stance from one that asserts domination over the self, others, and the environment to one that accepts the reality of limitation” (Krestan, 2000, p. 15).
Transference pertains to a process wherein the emotions learned from earlier associations or relationships are transferred to one’s new relationship experiences. In a workplace setting, transference may happen in a simpler manner: A secretary works for her male boss.
From time to time, her boss happens to shout at her because of poor business reports or disorderly meeting schedules. Every time the secretary sees her boss, she gets depressed, fearful, and clumsy that she often produces substandard reports. The depression and fear that she feels in the office is also felt in her home when she goes home.
Her father is the bossy-type businessman who had always scolded her even when she was still a child. She then succumbs to the use of amphetamines in order to stir away her everyday feeling of depression.
The transference happened to be the cause of depression of the secretary. She felt depressed whenever her father scolded her, and this association of her father’s scolding to her boss’s reproach completed the transference. She sees her boss to be like her father; in effect, she feels the same emotions in both setting.
If she knew about the transference that happens with her association of her father with her boss, she may be able to think differently in her office and perform better. She may not surrender to the use of anti-depressants just so she could do her job properly.