As luck would have it, the experience was terrible. My team was given an assignment that required us to visit a client's office for a month. According to Harvey, workers caught in the paradox avoid speaking up because they fear separation from the group. If so, your organization may be in the grip of the Abilene Paradox, a group phenomenon first identified in 1974 by management consultant Jerry Harvey. But what if we all decide to do something which none of us wants? To cut down traveling costs, the management of our organization decided to use the client's facility for traveling, instead of hiring a private vehicle for us.
After initial enthusiasm wears off, they are much more likely to spot problems and weaknesses. I have also written several books about mathematical puzzles, paradoxes, and related topics available on. Nothing could be more disastrous than that. Volume 1 is rated 4. More Useful Resources on the Abilene Paradox 's a further look at the paradox from mentalfloss. Moreover, this behavior is understandable where the hierarchy above are stringent and rigid and not open to the subordinates' opinions. When they arrive at the cafeteria, the food is as bad as the drive.
The strength and creativity of a group comes in part from its diversity. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia The Abilene paradox is a in which a group of people collectively decide on a course of action that is counter to the preferences of any of the individuals in the group. You can always say you did your best to skip the trip to Abilene. Harvey illustrates his point with a story about a family who set off on an uncomfortably hot, unsuitable, and ultimately unsatisfying trip to have dinner 53 miles away. The power that a social group has over the individual can be very strong.
In 'Groupthink', the members feel they have arrived at a decision which is in the best interest of all, which in reality is not. To learn about our licensing options. Organizational Dynamics 3 1 : 63. When they arrive, they go to a restaurant where the food is bad. The story behind naming this paradox was developed by Jerry Harvey of George Washington University, in 1974. Skip the trip: Take the group where it really wants to go The answer, it appears, is to take the group where it really wants to go, not necessarily to Abilene. This parable gives a wise teaching that we can learn from, and implement it in our professional as well as personal life.
However, the fear of challenging the decision of higher authorities, kept us from voicing our displeasure. Presh Talwalkar I am the author of. Yet it is part of the absurdity of the paradox that going along with the group almost always produces exactly the separation that workers fear. How to avoid the trap The Abilene Paradox is an example of poor communication. The risk is that if you are the one frequently speaking up, others may think you are a jerk and non-cooperative. Wonder what will be waiting for you when you get there? Thus, we all ended up taking a road trip to Abilene. It goes like this: One hot summer afternoon in Coleman, Texas, a family is playing dominoes on the porch, when the father-in-law proposes that they all take a trip to Abilene for dinner, 53 miles away.
Not sure where your team is heading? Else, in person, the employees may discuss the problems, yet it never gets voiced at the managerial level due to a communication gap. So, instead of looking at any problem with a 'kaleidoscope' perspective, they think in an one-dimensional and singular perspective only. A family is sitting enjoying themselves on the porch when the father-in-law suggests they all take a trip to Abilene, some 53 miles away to the north. I just went along to keep you happy. Eventually, it was a losing situation for all of us, the employees were inconvenienced, while the management bore the increased costs of the assignment. Any insight on why one would act as such? Government contractors do not qualify for government discounts.
Non-Profit Discount: Occasionally we can offer discounts to 501 c 3 non-profit organizations. I just hope your mother wants to go. Harvey about a needless family trip to Abilene offers a compelling lesson for groups: Make sure you've received everyone's honest input on the action you're about to take. For every instance in which members of an organization sigh in relief that someone has finally voiced their secret reservations, there may be many more in which additional attention to conflict is not welcome. I was with two friends and we were deciding where to eat. Information and Software Technology 49 6 : 552—563.
What does it Mean to go to Abilene? I send it 1 or 2 times a year, and I only collect your email to send this news. They arrive back home four hours later, exhausted. Program Information: Why do bad ideas move forward? Harvey, The Abilene Paradox and other meditations on management , Lexington, Massachusetts: Lexington Books, 1988, p. It is a hot sunny afternoon in Coleman, Texas. Some apparently have found it so. It was only after returning home to Coleman, Texas—hot, tired, and cranky —that the group discovered that no one had wanted to go. Volume 1 is rated 4.