The Stupidity Paradox

Submitted by: Hassan Ahmed
Class Number: MBA-01 Sec-02
Submitted to: Dr. Nasir Afghan

Course: Organizational Behavior and Leadership
Table of Contents

Part One: Stupidity Today

The Knowledge Myth
Not to Smart
Funtional Stupidity

Part Two: Five Kinds of Functional Stupidity

 Leadership- Induced Leadership
Structure-Induced Leadership
Imitation Induced Stupidity
Branding-Induced Stupidity
Culture-Induced Stupidity

Part Three: Managing Stupidity

Stupidity Management and How to counter it?
Conclusion

Introduction
The main purpose of any company is to grow in terms of business that is having lucrative business and at the same time enabling their employees to become their future asset. But in real world often we see organization hired smart people and they end up in making stupid mistake.
The book highlights that organization depend on well-educated and bright people who are willing to learn but what seems to be observe is that organization ends up in creating Corporate Slaves who follows dictation, discipline and willingness to be seduced by many ludicrous ideas. We have to understand why organization employed smart people?
Why smart people do stupid things and bestow with bounties by organization for doing such mistakes this is what the book highlights. They succeeded for the short time p but in longer term it damages the organization as well as their progress also. Later in this chapter we will discuss the role of stupidity in today’s workplace and profession.
Part One: Stupidity Today
The Knowledge Myth
World has witnessed an anomaly in knowledge based economy. In a way that we have observed a remarkable progression in knowledge of individuals but in contrast to it we could not witness rapid increase in the demand of such individuals in our job sector. Instead of surge in knowledge based jobs we have seen smooth increase in low-wage odd jobs.
Irony is the attitude of present day organizations who instead of addressing this issue tries to cover it up by using different tactics like granting attractive job titles to convince individuals that they are doing something innovative and useful. But in reality we have witnessed that such organizations and individuals are busy in doing routine office work. This does not mean that acquiring knowledge is wasteful or dangerous.
But the ever increasing gap between supply and demand curve of highly intellectual individuals and knowledge based jobs is fuelling frustration and other evils in present day generation. This frustration can be gauged by a rapid increase in college pass outs since 1960s and number of people who were expecting that they would be given a ground to showcase their capabilities and abilities but at last they were only allowed to do repetitive office tasks on daily basis.
Not to Smart
Individual in the organization are rational people. They try their best to use their knowledge and experience practically but faces with many obstacles. It has been seen as most decisions in the organization are based on limited information and less time to contemplate over it which results in the satisfactory outcome but not optimal one.
It has been seen mostly that smart people joining the workforce on the basis of their intelligence but they are not fully able to utilize it. If they opt to do something different they will be stopped by their boss or faced criticism from their colleagues that is the dilemma of our culture. You can see after few year of experience they will end up in corporate mindlessness. One of the obstacles in this kind of skill incompetence is that it stops people from learning.
They deceive by the comforting routines that allow them to ignore troubling issues of daily life. Often you see in organization where people are being discouraged for asking question. They been given a particular script to follow and act accordingly. Usually asking difficult question or thinking to deeply seems as a great waste for the firms.
It subsequently end up in restricting the thought process of employees. Employees who learn to switch of their brain are rewarded. If they think too much they can get the work done. By following the corporate line set by the firm, thoughtless employees get seen as leadership material and promoted.
We usually see the policy of ignorance in the organization, where people avoid informing senior people about problem. This is because senior don’t want to face to many complicated issues. This helps them to remain unaware of the situation when something went wrong in order to pull off the whole burden from them.
Functional Stupidity
The observation is that firm going out of their way to block employees from reflecting on their ideas, to deter them from thinking innovatively and to resist them from giving or asking for justification for their decisions and actions. By doing this they create functional outcomes both for individuals and the whole organisation.
The consequences of it can disastrous leading to collapse of organisation. However functional stupidity can be useful and produce short term results, it can nurture harmony, encourage people to get on with the job. Like the example of Pepsi was given where culture was that executive should focused only on outcome, work diligently and employees gave very less time to their social life or outside world.
The type of workaholic or militaristic environment prevails in Pepsi affect the employees productivity and they all the time pre-occupied with the office work. Functional stupidity is so widespread in organization that it is simply seen as a normal. Following leaders without seeing their credentials and no careful check often result in self stupidity. Functional Stupidity basically reduces conflict, levitate anxiety, and increase self-esteem.
The issue is when organization get affected in longer term which result in a great loss.Funtional stupidity is deeply rooted in organisation and eradicating it from the root is very difficult. But certain steps can be taken which will be discuss later on this chapter can help us mitigating it.
Part Two: Five Kinds of Functional Stupidity
Leadership-Induced Stupidity
All adjectives like superior, innovative, critical, prudent, etc. attached with leaders. They are purely a myth. In reality leaders are self-obsessed individuals. Who assume themselves as a master of all. Most of them think that whatever they are saying is being praised by their sub-ordinates but reality is different from this. Mostly people take the words of their leaders superficially and take it as for granted. Henceforth, impact of a leader on organizational life is minimum.
Structure Induce Stupidity
Structure in organization is necessary but some time creating too much structures and norms can create a communication gap between the top management and the lower ones. We have heard the word of delegation in our management system which is used to empower the employees and encourage them to take equal parts in company’s though process.
But unfortunately we can see in majority of organization that dominant or dictator rule is followed. Top management neglect the lower ones to put their input which can be valuable for organization but are often ignored in company thought process. That lowers the moral and willingness of an individual working in an organization.
Managers mostly spend their time doing meeting, setting up the rule and regulation and probably are unaware of what is happening at the ground level or in the firm. If we go down the organisation hierarchy, most peoples are confine to focus on their work and not think about the broader picture.
Imitation Induced Stupidity
Blindly following the glowing star has become order of the day. Organizations tend to copy other organizational behaviour and strategies without any motive and approach. The repercussions of this practice are heinous and affect overall organization.
Branding-Induced Stupidity
Marketing and branding has become a key tool nowadays. Organizations have vigorously started working on branding their brands. They do it by hook or crook. Mostly unrealistic but catchy phrases are used to convince the buyers to buy their products. The branding game is going so strong that huge chunk of capital are now reserved only for branding. This has diverted organizations from their main purpose which is to improve their product’s quality and to serve their customers.
Culture- Induced Stupidity
There is a predefined set of protocols for every organization. These protocols create almost familiar culture for every organization. Eventually they create a tranquil and conducive environment within an organization. Things get disturbed when such predefined protocols are broken and are kept just for showcase. This creates a feeling of chagrin in people.
Part Three: Managing Stupidity
Stupidity Management and How to counter it
Stupidity management constitute a conundrum. In short functional stupidity is helpful in decision making, forging a better workplace and mitigating the conflict because you will be not questioning or not doing something out of the box which ultimately builds such an environment of harmony. But in longer run, it obstruct the creativity, decision making skills and problem solving skills.Decion making tends to be easy when people stop thinking too much.
Conflict of opinion shall be present in the organization; it will help individuals to express themselves and come out with different idea or opinion which ultimately benefit the organization. Due to this your thought process increases and you start thinking differently. There are number of ways where manager encourage functional stupidity. First is authority in which people are encourage to follow their leaders and they are treated as inferior who are there to comply the policies and orders.
Second is seduction. People can be seduced by being encouraged to think things are great. The third is to manipulate the thing in order to make the things appears to be natural. This we call naturalisation. We follow stereotype thinking or conservative type of mind-set like this thing happen in this way and there are no alternate for it.Albeit if we think beyond the line or do some research we can come up with a way but we are provided with such justification that this is the better way or it can happen in this way only.
Final is appeal to opportunism. When incentives are stacked up in the right way, people are schooled to avoid asking to many difficult questions. Now we will look how organization should foster an “anti-stupidity culture” in which it is acceptable to think critically. This includes by reflecting your ideas, involve in critical thinking and consider reducing or killing our own stupidities for this we need to do anti stupidity management.
Furthermore, it required work on cultural and collective norms. Express yourself in meeting and ask tough question to force them to think again for the decision. Newcomers should be promoted to ask question and should be ask that how they perceive the situation and their take on it. Learning from the outsider or you should go to other organisation and see their culture and work, and try to interlink with yours, which will help you in longer run.Learing from the critics because they have deep views of your company loophole so engaging them and extracting the shortcoming can be beneficial.
Conclusion
This book shows the picture how in the organisation people are facing with different hurdles which inhibit their though process and they instead of thinking rationally they restrict their thought process which ultimately result in creating a functional stupidity –a way to remain confine in certain area and not thinking out of it or beyond the line which result in setting up a myopic mind set. In the end it briefly describe that how to tackle out of this situation through ways as describe earlier in above paragraph.

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New York University
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