Stockholm Syndrome refers to the phenomenon often observed in hostage situations where the hostages start to identify with (and sympathize with) their captor(s), even though mistreated. Corporate Stockholm Syndrome is hereby defined as the phenomenon wherein employees of a business start to identify with, and are exceedingly loyal to, an employer who is manifestly hostile to their own self-interest. Such employers often demand long hours of overtime (even in non-crunch-time). Rather than resist such treatment, employees in such a company frequently:
Rally 'round the corporate banner; and come to believe that employee-hostile corporate maneuvers are "good for the company", thus good for it's employees as well.
Consider working at the company a privelege--one which requires hard work (i.e lots of unpaid overtime and other concessions) to earn. May be derisive of folks who work elsewhere, considering them "slackers" or "second-rate"--if they were top-notch performers, they'd work here too.
Employees (in a non-managerial role) are frequently found exerting PeerPressure on their fellow employees to increase productivity; employees who don't "pull their weight" (work long hours of overtime) are looked down upon. Management encourages this behavior.
Resist any attempt by employees to improve their own lot; any employee who agitates for better working conditions is considered NotaTeamPlayer, or a traitor to the cause.
Spend a fair bit of time and money on infusing employees with the "corporate culture"
Seek out and fire any employees who don't play along.
Despite all the DoubleSpeak about teams and sacrifice and such; the employer often regards employees as a commodity resource to be purchased at the lowest possible price, and to be discarded when no longer needed or productive. In such organizations, the "sacrifice" is almost always borne by the workforce.
Do maintain a small clique of KeyContributor?s who contain much of the corporate DomainKnowledge, these employees may have much better working conditions and much more interesting assignments. Joining this clique is considered the ultimate perk/promotion; and is used as a carrot to encourage more hard work. (No promises of course, just a maybe). The reality is that by concentrating DomainKnowledge within such an elite; the remainder of the workforce can be made disposable; any of the grunts engaging in directed implementation tasks can be canned on a moment's notice without adversely disrupting the company's design activities.
In many such companies, payscales are above average (making the job look lucrative) but when you compute an effective hourly wage, such companies don't look so good.
Many companies of this sort also are "leading edge" companies in their respective markets; adding to their cachet.
For employees, this is an AntiPattern. For management, this is often considered a good management strategy.
A similar pattern can be observed in politics, but that's a different (and OffTopic) page altogether...