Clinical psychologist Oliver James' guide to cunning colleagues and winning at office games.
Work can certainly be a wicked world these days. If you're not crippled by the workload and pressure, there's the office politics to content with, whether its backstabbing, dirty tactics or gossip.
While some use them to great effect, many people have experienced, or seen the effect on others, of toxic scenarios - a boss unfairly favouring a charming employee, tears in the toilet as someone feels excluded from the office 'inner circle', or an employee ruthlessly taking credit for another's efforts.
Surprisingly, psychologist Oliver James says although there's plenty to deplore about underhand games, it's vital to learn how to use office politics to gain career success.
"Office politics has a bad name in that people tend to think that it's people behaving in a devious way," he says.
"But, in reality, we all engage in office politics, it's an inevitable part of professional life. Let's stop regarding manipulation, which happens all the time in business, as a dirty word."
Neither your ability nor your personality are as important as office politics in deciding whether you succeed in today's workplace, he stresses.
"Resources, whether that be pay, promotion or good jobs, are finite and we all have to be political, to some degree, in order to get them.
There's even more need to learn to be skilful at office 'games' because our hard recessionary times are making them more prevalent, says James, author of Office Politics - How To Thrive In A World Of Lying, Backstabbing And Dirty Tricks.