There seem to be a number of articles circulating now describing stupidity in groups including this article by André Spicer on enshrined organisational stupidity and this article by Mariah Milano titled “America: The Land of the Stupid”.
While collective stupidity appears to be on the rise with Oxford Dictionaries selecting “post-truth” as 2016’s international word of the year, it’s certainly nothing new.
Human history is littered with groups/societies being certain of prevailing knowledge, such as the Earth being flat, and not welcoming new perspectives resulting in people such as Charles Darwin apparently postponing publication of his theory of evolution for 20 years because he was afraid of the reaction.
In these situations, there appears to be a willingness to sacrifice new thinking in order to maintain group cohesion – people choosing, often unconsciously and for many reasons including fear of authority, not to address issues in the group and to attack those that do.
But it doesn’t need to be that way so maybe a challenge for all of us in 2017 can be to spend some time identifying and raising awareness of the blind spots in our groups so that issues can be addressed together.
If you have any thoughts or comments, please share below or send me a LinkedIn connection request.