Functional Stupidity: Lecture Fully Booked
This talk is based on: "A stupidity based theory of organisations". Journal of Management Studies (2012)
Contemporary organisations rely on the mobilisation of intelligence, creativity and high competence. But this is only a part of the picture. What can be labelled functional stupidity is an equally important if under-recognised part of organisational life. Functional stupidity refers to an absence of reflexivity, a refusal to use intellectual capacities in other than myopic ways, and doing tasks without asking for justifications. Functional stupidity is prevalent in organisations that are authoritarian and those which emphasise branding, image and symbolic manipulation. Organisations often engage in stupidity management that repress or marginalise doubt and block communicative action, which can lead to happiness and smooth functioning, but also to serious problems being undetected.
Mats Alvesson is Professor of Business Administration at the University of Lund, Sweden and at UQ Business School. His research interests include critical theory, gender, power, management of professional service (knowledge intensive) organisations, leadership, identity, organisational image, organisational culture and symbolism, qualitative methods and philosophy of science.