Absurd decisions

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Christian MOREL

Sociologist, author of several articles and works of reference

Seminar Business life | Friday December 7, 2001

Christian Morel has studied absurd decisions. These are defined as drastic and persistent mistakes. Those who make them act contrary to the desired aim, in a variety of areas. Examples are inexplicable pilot or navigation errors in aeroplanes or boats, managerial actions which are totally contradictory to the intended objective, senseless decisions in matters of joint ownership, and so on. Cases are studied from three perspectives : the cognitive interpretation which stresses basic errors of logic ; the collective explanation which casts light on systems of interaction which give the protagonists no choice other than an absurd solution ; and finally, the teleological explanation which shows senselessness at different stages of the action. According to Christian Morel, the most surprising finding of all is the great level of social tolerance observed with regard to absurd decisions !

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This session was published in issue n°37 of the Journal de l'École de Paris du management, entitled Un monde de dingues !.

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