Why are smart people encouraged to act dumb at work - and beyond? Welcome to the idea of functional stupidity: how to recognise it, why it's attractive and how to guard against it.
Something strange is happening in our knowledge economy: organisations everywhere are encouraging smart people to do stupid things.
At its extremes, this kind of systematic stupidity can be catastrophic: witness the institutional blindness in financial services that led to the crisis of 2008. But we can all relate to more everyday examples of losing touch with the need to question the dubious and criticise the absurd, from unsustainable management fads or the cult of leadership and strategy through to an over-reliance on brand and image. And what happens when we allow these behaviours to spill over into our lives outside work?
The Stupidity Paradox tackles head-on the pros and cons of a culture of questioning and challenge. Harmony and action at all costs can be attractive and can also bring short-term benefits. But, ultimately, the book is a wake-up call to all of us to be alert to behaviours that discourage critical thinking, and to use our intelligence to the full in the interests of personal satisfaction, organisational success and the performance of the wider economy and society as a whole.
Mats Alvesson is Professor of Business Administration at the University of Lund, Sweden. He has published extensively across a wide range of organisational behaviour topics and issues, is one of the most frequently cited European researchers in management and a sought-after speaker and commentator around the globe. Andr. Spicer is Professor of Organisational Behaviour at Cass Business School, City University, London, known for his thought leadership in the areas of the human side of work, leadership and ethics. He is widely published in both academic literature and the general business media and is a frequent commentator on sustainable business, behaviours at work and business culture.
Business & Management
Paperback - B format
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Business & management