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.
Corruption, the abuse of power for private gain, or more generally, the degradation or deformation of the political order, has been with us since the earliest classical city-states. So have complaints about corruption, and so have various politicians who pledged to ‘do something’ about it.*