For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"Slipping into functional stupidity: The bifocality of organizational compliance"

by Paulsen, Roland (2017)


Drawing on ethnographical work at the Swedish Public Employment Service, this article contextualizes functional stupidity in relation to other types of organizational compliance. Rather than seeing stupidity as a personality trait, I argue that it should be regarded as a transient unreflective mode of compliance one may yield to for a number of reasons but also reflect on in hindsight. Based on the empirical material, I distinguish 10 ?stupidity rationales? emanating from reflective types of compliance with which employees can motivate the practice of functional stupidity. Functional stupidity can be seen as the modus operandi of ego-dystonic compliance we enter in order to endure long hours of imposed work assignments we would rather not perform.


Functional Stupidity, Public Service, Organisational Compliance, Compliance


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