xxii) Collective stupidity (intelligent people agree to stupid decisions, ie their thinking is shackled)

There are 6 elements to collective stupidity

i)  Leadership-induced (staff develop unquestioning faith in senior management's leadership like a religious cult)

ii) Structure-induced (staff completely buy-in to unsuitable processes and systems)

iii) Brand/image-induced (unquestioned enthusiasm for superficial brands and images by management and staff, ie try to pretend they are different from their competitors)

iv) Imitation-induced (assuming that successful competitors know better, ie only explore the superficial elements via such activities like benchmarking)

v) Culture-induced (blindly following an unsuitable culture like "living in the past", action orientated, eg "shoot first and ask questions" later, just do it, etc)

vi) Functional stupidity (tendency to reduce one's range of thinking and focus only on the narrow, technical aspects of the job, etc), ie"...You do the job correctly, but without reflecting on purpose or the wider context...... they stop asking searching questions about their work. In place of rigorous reflection, they become obsessed with superficial appearances. Instead of asking questions, they start to obey commands. Rather than thinking about outcomes, they focus on techniques getting things done. And the thing to do is often to create the right impression......great at doing things that look good. They tick boxes for management, please clients and placate the authorities......they also often do things that make little sense......Once in the grip of functional stupidity, you avoid thinking too much about exactly what you are doing, why you are doing it, and potential implications......you hope to avoid punishment and many worries that might come from deviation. They sidestepped the burdens of having to think too much and upsetting others by asking difficult questions. What's more, you are usually rewarded for doing this..."

Mats Alvesson et al 2016

 

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