A-Z Popular Blog Management Search »
Organizational Culture
Related Guides

What is Setting Up To Fail?

 , updated on
Setting up to fail is a malicious political strategy that gives a team or individual a mission, project or task that is deliberately designed to fail. In most cases, the doomed assignment is an order of magnitude too much work relative to the resources or capabilities available. The following are hypothetical examples.
A government gives an investigating committee an overly bureaucratic structure in the hopes that it will not discover the truth.
A manager who feels threatened by a talented younger employee gives them a politically charged mission that they know is well beyond the employee's capabilities.
A project manager feels a project is doomed. They assign an individual impossible tasks to use them as a scapegoat for the anticipated failure.
An executive short sells her own company and develops a corporate strategy that's sure to fail in bankruptcy.
A large company offers a smaller competitor a lucrative partnership and then sabotages it. The smaller company doesn't have the resources to survive the fallout.
Overview: Setting Up To Fail
An unethical strategy that assigns an organization, team or individual a mission or task that is purposely designed to fail.
Related Concepts

Office Politics

This is the complete list of articles we have written about office politics.
Abilene Paradox
Blame Shifting
Change Fatigue
Cold Logic
Cruel Wit
Devils Advocate
Difficult Behaviors
Failing Upwards
Fear Of Youth
Internal Competition
Loaded Question
Loss Of Face
Malicious Compliance
Negative Selection
Not Even Wrong
Nudge Theory
Passive Aggressive
Petty Authority
Political Capital
Professional Life
Saving Face
Social Influence
Social Proof
Tit For Tat
Trained Incapacity
Workplace Culture
Yes People
More ...
If you enjoyed this page, please consider bookmarking Simplicable.

Office Politics

A list of social processes, absurdities and strategies related to office politics.

Schedule Chicken

At the intersection of project management and game theory.

Catch 22

The catch-22 logical paradox explained.

Professional Conduct

The primary elements of professional conduct.


The common types of inefficiency.

Petty Authority

An overview of petty authority.


The definition of whataboutism with examples.

Corporate Culture

The basic elements of a corporate culture.


The definition of sidelining in business with examples.

Business Strategy

An extensive list of business strategies.


A reasonably comprehensive guide to strategy.

Baseline vs Benchmark

The difference between a baseline and a benchmark.

Strategy vs Tactics

A definition of strategy vs tactics with two examples.

Competitive Advantage

A few sources of competitive advantage for businesses.

Macro Environment

A list of macro environment components.

Competitive Advantage vs Distinctive Capability

The difference between competitive advantage and distinctive capability.

Do Nothing Strategy

An overview of a common business strategy.


A definition of restructuring with examples.
The most popular articles on Simplicable in the past day.

New Articles

Recent posts or updates on Simplicable.
Site Map