The Surprising Benefits of Corporate Disunity

Huffington Post:

I love reading accounts of the West Wing’s inner workings, because they are studies in the predictable quirkiness of human psychology. Presidents and their trusted staffs always arrive in the White House with a unified message and team spirit, and they inevitably disintegrate into factions — ideological purists and pragmatists, seasoned vets and young Turks. It’s just as true of Obama’s West Wing today as it was of Nixon’s and FDR’s, and probably every presidency back to the founding.

The common wisdom is that such factions are a bad thing, not just for the White House but for any complex organization. Internal bickering takes key leaders off message and saps energy and hurts job performance. But Margaret Ormiston isn’t so sure. Ormiston is a psychological scientist at the London Business School, and together with Elaine Wong of the University of Wisconsin — Milwaukee, she has been studying the consequences of such organizational fragmentation. Her work suggests that disunity may actually have some hidden benefits, including the promotion of more ethical business practices.

Read the whole story: Huffington Post

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