The Fatal Flaw Myth

James Suroweicki has an excellent piece in The New Yorker about the "fatal flaw myth." As part of the article, he comments on the fundamental attribution error, a bias that is particularly prevalent in the workplace.

People are generally bad at accepting the importance of context and chance. We fall prey to what the social psychologist Lee Ross called "the fundamental attribution error"-the tendency to ascribe success or failure to innate characteristics, even when context is overwhelmingly important.

Then he takes a shot at management fads, which is like shooting fish in a barrel, but it's still fun.

Because we underestimate how much variation can be caused simply by luck, we see patterns where none exist. It's no wonder that management theory is dominated by fads: every few years, new companies succeed, and they are scrutinized for the underlying truths that they might reveal.

I wonder if Suroweicki would consider "wisdom of crowds" an up and coming fad…