Is 'Psychology of Incompetence' competent?
April 26, 2011 9:59 AM Subscribe
Is Norman Dixon's On The Psychology Of Military Incompetence
still considered to be an accurate portrayal of organisational psychology?
posted by Jakob to science & nature (1 answer total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
The book is a very funny and (to a layman such as myself) plausible examination of the social pathologies of hierarchical organisations, using case studies from military history; his essential argument is that military organisations select for personality types in peacetime that are actively detrimental in wartime. As a historian, I've seen Dixon's book quoted in reference to organisational failures many times, but I'd like to know whether it stands up in light of contemporary psychology and/or organisational theory. For instance, Dixon uses Freudian terminology when describing personality types; although this isn't critical in terms of his wider arguments, it leads me to treat the rest of the book with some caution.
I know that previous psychological concepts such as the 'stages of grief' are no longer considered valid; as it's now over thirty years old, has anything similar happened to Dixon's work?