In his book “The Power of Minds at Work”, Karl Albrecht (picture) cites this case as an example for what is been known now as Albrecht’s law: “Intelligent people, when assembled into an organization, will tend toward collective stupidity.”
Arguing that in organizations, the sum of all individual minds only rarely equals the level of organizational intelligence, he identifies several factors that may contribute to this dysfunction. Based on more than 25 years’ experience as a consultant, Albrecht contends that organizational “entropy” (that is, the energy of a system that remains unavailable for conversion to work), ineffective decision-making processes, and cultural clashes arise in every organization. With employees working in separate departments, each department protecting its turf and often not knowing what the others are doing, “collective brain power gets wasted,” Albrecht says, thus compromising the mission of the enterprise. Collaboration and knowledge management, the two major buzzwords of today’s enterprise, may work on academic paper but are far from being effectively applied in practice.