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Slipping into functional stupidity – the bifocality of organizational compliance

Paulsen, Roland LU (2017) In Human Relations 70(2). p.185-210
Abstract
Drawing on ethnographical work at the Swedish Public Employment Service, this article contextualizes functional stupidity in relation to other types of organizational compliance. Rather than seeing stupidity as a personality trait, I argue that it should be regarded as a transient unreflective mode of compliance one may yield to for a number of reasons but also reflect on in hindsight. Based on the empirical material, I distinguish 10 ‘stupidity rationales’ emanating from reflective types of compliance with which employees can motivate the practice of functional stupidity. Functional stupidity can be seen as the modus operandi of ego-dystonic compliance we enter in order to endure long hours of imposed work assignments we would rather not... (More)
Drawing on ethnographical work at the Swedish Public Employment Service, this article contextualizes functional stupidity in relation to other types of organizational compliance. Rather than seeing stupidity as a personality trait, I argue that it should be regarded as a transient unreflective mode of compliance one may yield to for a number of reasons but also reflect on in hindsight. Based on the empirical material, I distinguish 10 ‘stupidity rationales’ emanating from reflective types of compliance with which employees can motivate the practice of functional stupidity. Functional stupidity can be seen as the modus operandi of ego-dystonic compliance we enter in order to endure long hours of imposed work assignments we would rather not perform. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
conflict, motivation, organizational theory, psychology, stress
in
Human Relations
volume
70
issue
2
pages
26 pages
publisher
SAGE Publications Inc.
external identifiers
  • scopus:85007107582
ISSN
0018-7267
DOI
10.1177/0018726716649246
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
8a634e62-ea3b-4057-a14f-9af5bca9b9d3
date added to LUP
2016-10-01 21:41:12
date last changed
2017-11-14 09:52:00
@article{8a634e62-ea3b-4057-a14f-9af5bca9b9d3,
  abstract     = {Drawing on ethnographical work at the Swedish Public Employment Service, this article contextualizes functional stupidity in relation to other types of organizational compliance. Rather than seeing stupidity as a personality trait, I argue that it should be regarded as a transient unreflective mode of compliance one may yield to for a number of reasons but also reflect on in hindsight. Based on the empirical material, I distinguish 10 ‘stupidity rationales’ emanating from reflective types of compliance with which employees can motivate the practice of functional stupidity. Functional stupidity can be seen as the modus operandi of ego-dystonic compliance we enter in order to endure long hours of imposed work assignments we would rather not perform. },
  author       = {Paulsen, Roland},
  issn         = {0018-7267},
  keyword      = {conflict,motivation,organizational theory,psychology,stress},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {2},
  pages        = {185--210},
  publisher    = {SAGE Publications Inc.},
  series       = {Human Relations},
  title        = {Slipping into functional stupidity – the bifocality of organizational compliance},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0018726716649246},
  volume       = {70},
  year         = {2017},
}