Look around you. How many of your beloved coworkers have occasionally carried on like uncontrolled imbeciles at work? It’s okay, we won’t tell – because we both know you may have (on occasion!) been one of those people. The modern workplace is overflowing with what André Spicer, a professor of organizational behaviour at Cass Business School at City University London, calls “Smart people doing stupid things.”
Along with Mats Alvesson, Spicer is the co-author of The Stupidity Paradox: The Power and Pitfalls of Functional Stupidity at Work, a book all about why workplace stupidity is often encouraged in the short term, even though the long-term consequences can be disastrous. We spoke with Spicer to discuss his research.