practical criticism

Functional stupidity: A critique

Alvesson and Spicer’s 2012 paper ‘A stupidity-based theory of organizations’, published in the Journal of Management Studies, is an audacious attempt to introduce a new concept into academic discourse and public debate – the concept of ‘functional stupidity’. To a large extent, the authors have been successful: not only has the concept been taken up by organizational researchers, it has also gained widespread coverage in the international business press.

25 Apr 2013 to 26 Apr 2013



Calàs and Smircich (1991) once famously observed that the study of management and organizations was marked by a persistent sense of stagnation and loss of direction at the level of its controlling élites, and of oppression at the level of its emerging scholars. Perceiving a connection between the two, their solution was to deconstruct the work of leading scholars in their field as a means of destabilizing an authoritative order which they... more

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