Summary of The Stupidity Paradox

The Power and Pitfalls of Functional Stupidity at Work

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The Stupidity Paradox book summary
Why do so many organizations actively encourage stupidity? And how can they get smart?


7 Overall

8 Applicability

7 Innovation

7 Style


Organizational experts Mats Alvesson and André Spicer make a strong case about the dangerous prevalence of “functional stupidity” in organizations. They provide iconoclastic, intriguing insights on functional intelligence and its absence. The authors outline specific steps companies can take to transform from being stupid to being smart. Their detailed presentation offers many revealing case histories to bolster their argument – although they fail to address how, with all the organizational dumbness they identify, corporations are able to develop products, like smartphones, that transform consumers’ lives. Nevertheless, getAbstract recommends their clever program for helping smarten up your management and boost your organization’s well-being.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How to thwart the five forms of “functional stupidity”,
  • How to identify the four traits of “stupidity management,”
  • How to avoid “negative capability,” and
  • What steps to take to “destupidify” your organization.


Ford Pintos
You might expect knowledge-intensive organizations and their workers to be smart and to do smart things. However, most organizations and their employees more often do stupid things. Many companies don’t support careful thinking or enlightened actions.

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About the Authors

Mats Alvesson is professor of business administration at the University of Lund, Sweden. André Spicer is professor of organizational behavior at Cass Business School, City University, London.

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    Uwe Drillkens 3 months ago
    An excellent book. Unfortunately I recognize the same patterns in our organization as are described in the book. Time to change things... .
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    Rachael Glanding 10 months ago
    Very interesting.

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