Functional stupidity can be catastrophic. It can cause organizational collapse, financial meltdown and technical disaster. And there are countless, more everyday examples of organizations accepting the dubious, the absurd and the downright idiotic, from unsustainable management fads to the cult of leadership or an over-reliance on brand and image. And yet a dose of stupidity can be useful and produce good, short-term results: it can nurture harmony, encourage people to get on with the job and drive success. This is the stupidity paradox.
Organizations and work are increasingly governed by legislation, procedures, conformism, fashions and corporate bullshit talk. We live in a world increasingly dominated by a culture of fear - anxious of breaking rules or saying something upsetting.
Can all this be counteracted?