Thursday, December 08, 2016

342: Groupthink

World War Z was a phenomenal book, covering many different angles that traditional zombie narratives do not. I especially liked how it hypothesized the macro political repercussions of how governments would respond to an outbreak. There was much to think about in the issues that it raised.

One of the scenes that made a lasting impact on me was the doctrine of the 10th Man. In essence, it goes: "Whenever nine people looking at the same information come to the same conclusion, it is the tenth's duty to disagree and actively look for evidence to the contrary." The name may be fictional, but the principle is solid.

The takeaway here is the peril of groupthink. If everyone agrees, if everyone thinks the same, it diminishes the ability to look at alternative avenues. It's intellectual inbreeding, and its result is an organizational culture that is weak and stunted, prone to succumb to viruses. Another less charitable way to call it is "circlejerk."

Today I've had to face the result of such a culture. You might think this concerns this government, but no, it's another organization. I'm simply not at liberty to say which. The decision-making process was prideful and the end result was wasteful and just plain wrong. But that's the culture that's been ingrained by the man on top, and no one thinks to disagree, or at least disagree openly. Over the past six years, dissent in this organization has been slowly whittled away, through a system of reward and ridicule. I was afraid it would come to this, though I hoped it wouldn't.

Ah, well, at least the only casualty of this experience is my respect for the organization.

Disappointed, that's what I am