The Stupidity Index– Power of Stupid, Idiocy, Lunacy, Folly… Stupidity-Based Theory of Organization and Management…

Stupidity is a quality or state of being stupid, or an act or idea that exhibits properties of being stupid. According to Pitkin; the problems with stupidity is that nobody has a really good definition of what it is. In fact, geniuses are often considered stupid by a stupid majority (though nobody has a good definition of genius, either).

 But stupidity definitely is all around us and there is much more of it than our wildest nightmares might suggest. In fact, it runs the world – which is very clearly proven by the way the world is run.

According to Jaspreet Kaur; stupid management mistakes never cease to amaze me, and every day I hear stories from people who leave me wondering why smart managers can be so dumb, for example: Got a problem? Set-up a committee? Want someone to do something? Throw them in to the deep end with little training, then come down hard on them when they screw-up…

Ask your workforce for feedback, and then ignore everything that’s been suggested… Want to treat your staff like demented idiots who can’t think for themselves? Just micro-manage everything and talk down to them when they come up with ideas…

According to Susan Heathfield; organizations do dumb things to mess-up relationships with the people they employ, for example; failing to tell people what they’re supposed to do and then wondering why they fail, adding layers of paperwork and bureaucracy to stop things getting done, treating people as if they are untrustworthy, or telling employees to change the way they are doing things without providing good explanation why, and then sending them off to ‘change management’ training or Siberia, when they resist…

According to Carlo Maria Cipolla; there are five fundamental ‘laws of stupidity’, here are three: The probability that a given person is stupid is independent of any other characteristic possessed by that person… A person is stupid if they cause damage to another person or group of people without experiencing personal gain, or even worse causing damage to themselves in the process…

Non-stupid people always underestimate harmful potential of stupid people; they constantly forget that at– anytime, anywhere, and in any circumstance, dealing with or associating themselves with stupid individuals invariably constitutes a costly error…

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Stupidity Index: According to Nikhil; we are all born with a ‘Stupidity Index’ of 3. The scale is from 0 to 5, where 0 is the least stupid and 5 is the most stupid: I am at 4. What about you? Assess yourself. You’ll be surprised to know where you stand… Anyway, when Charles Darwin wrote ‘Origin Of Species’, he overlooked one major fact – The Stupidity Index… The scale is explained as follows:

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Wall Street Stupidity Index: The day Twitter went public not only was it profitable in the fiscal sense, but also illuminated a metric that has heretofore been under-appreciated by those attempting to comprehend and thereby profit from the laws that guide the market. We will call this potent new tool– The Wall Street Stupidity Index…

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In the article Never Underestimate The Power Of Stupid People In Large Groups by George Carlin writes: I’ve said it before– stupid people are dangerous. Sure they are amusing some of the time and annoying all of the time, but they are also dangerous a lot of the time too. Whether it be the stupid idiot who gets drunk and thinks it makes him a better driver, or someone in a company who has been promoted well beyond his or her level of ability just because the number of years of service he or she has accrued, or one of those despicable ‘jobs-worth’ morons you inevitably find in bureaucratic government non-jobs, their stupidity poses a danger to the rest of us…

A lot of the time the idiots get away with it, without anyone noticing much. The smart people get on with their lives and quietly accept the interference of the stupid. But recently idiots have been steadily encroaching on our private lives, into things that are clearly none of their business and things that pose no danger to society at large or to any individual within it: The idiots want power, but they don’t know what to do with it, when they get it. But they want it, and more and more of it.

My own theory is that at heart, although they try to appear superior, the idiots know they are idiots and actually feel inferior to normal people… We’ve been through the NSA fiasco when they were outed by a former employee. We know they look at our emails, listen to our telephone conversations, probably even snoop in our mail or scrutinize our blogs (gosh!)…

And we are currently in midst of one of the most idiotic standoffs in history: Washington with the President, Senate and House of Representatives seeing who can balance on one leg the longest while the country becomes the laughing-stock of the rest of the world. Yes folks, never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups to destroy society and drag the rest of us down along with them…

In the article A Stupidity-Based Theory of Organizations by Mats Alvesson and André Spicer write: Management and organization studies are a bound with positive-sounding reports of the importance of well-educated and bright-workers in knowledge-based firms that are at the forefront of the knowledge economy: There is broad consensus that modern economies is becoming increasingly ‘knowledge-intensive’…

Many assume that being able to put knowledge to work intelligently is the essence of what (successful) organizations do… However, we think that this consensus needs to be challenged; and perhaps modern economies and organizations should become more ‘stupidity-intensive’… To develop this challenge, we offer something different by drawing attention to significance of ‘functional stupidity’ in organizations– where functional stupidity can help to marginalize sources of friction and uncertainty…

However, in our view, what is crucial is that functional stupidity is not just an aberration in organizational life, but in many cases it’s central and supported by organizational norms and facilitates smooth interactions in organizations. Being clever and knowledgeable is fine and necessary, but so is refraining from being reflexive and avoiding asking for justifications for decisions, structures, minimizing substantive reasoning about values and goals. In this sense, functional stupidity can be helpful in producing results– for organizations as well as for individuals. It’s productive because it cuts short– costly and anxiety inducing questions and creates a sense of certainty…

But, like many things in organizational life it’s a mixed blessing: It’s ‘functional’ because it has some advantages and makes people concentrate enthusiastically on the task in hand. It’s ‘stupid’ because risks and problems may arise when people do not pose critical questions about what they and the organization are doing… We see functional stupidity as being created not through intellectual deficits but through political expediency and the exercise of power.

In other words, organizational members become functionally stupid through a series of cultural and institutional beliefs… reinforced by managerial (and self-managerial) interventions, such as; encouraging narrow action orientation, celebration of leadership, attachment to structure, strong belief in institutions… which discourage substantive reasoning and justification… This happens through a combination of indirect and more systemic stupidity management…

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