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Why Your Boss is an Idiot January 2, 2010

Posted by bitchwantstea in Tech / Science.
Tags: , , ,

First of all – the good news.  According to New Scientist, academic studies have gone some steps to explaining the why to what we already know – that most bosses are morons.

The first suspicion that the people who call the shots are idiots was put forward in 1969, with a book called The Peter Principle: Why Things Always Go Wrong. The book stated that everyone more or less has a fixed level of talent – which means that eventually, you’re going to be promoted to a job you just can’t handle.

Economist Edward Lazear goes one step further – people are promoted mostly down to chance, when someone performs a particular task with above average results.  This might be because they’re generally pretty good in that particular field, or it might just be a fluke.  And when someone is put in a job that’s above their abilities, their performance degenerates.

The bad news is that this study inevitably puts forward the argument that just because someone is doing well at their job, doesn’t mean that the best solution is to promote them out of it.

Of course, this grizzly scenario can often be avoided by adequate training for when a person is promoted.  But sociologist Cesare Garofalo has a controversial solution – promote people at random.  While some may view this as giving the already inept workers a foot up the corporate ladders, others could view it as a way of releasing people who are unsuited to their jobs.  There’s also the more conventional suggestion of job rotation.

Either way, to discover the science behind why your boss is a moron is surprisingly double-edged discovery – because even if it brings comfort the next time your boss does something stupid, it certainly takes the shine off any future promotions you’ve got your heart set on.

So if you’re doing well at your job, don’t always presume that the grass is greener on the other side!


1. Matt Brock - January 4, 2010

Also, I remember reading an article some time ago about the results of a study which found that people working in management, on average, have lower IQs than the people ‘below’ them. I wasn’t all that surprised.

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