The Abilene Paradox

Topics: Abilene paradox, Want, Abilene, Texas Pages: 1 (406 words) Published: August 30, 2006
What is the "Abilene Paradox" and do you think that it is prevalent in organizations as Harvey seems to think? The Abilene paradox occurs when organizations take actions contrary to the desires of its members and defeat the purposes they want to achieve. The Abilene paradox happens when everyone agrees on a basic matter of a situation and fails to communicate correctly. For example, as shown in Jerry Harvey's movie, an organization was working on this particular project that was taking up significant financial resources and did not look that it was accomplishing any results. However the director of the project was trying to push it through and his employees were supporting him even though they all felt that it was not going to take them anywhere; in fact it was on the way to cause the company to bankrupt. The employees failed to communicate this among each other or to their leader because they were afraid of being criticized or even losing their job. All the people involved in the project finally realized that neither one of them actually supported it; on the contrary, they all thought it had to be discontinued. It only took one brave person to stand up and say what he really thought of the project. He finally got over the fear and brought up his concerns. It turned out that all employees agreed with him, they were just scared to communicate it. Unfortunately, the Abilene paradox does happen often in organization or even in personal life. In relationships for example, people often say: "I will go wherever you like to go, it does not matter to me." Then the other person in return says that it wouldn't matter where they go either, one comes up with an idea that he thinks the other one would like; they both agree to it just because they said it wouldn't matter and they finally end up going to a place that neither one of them really wanted to go. In order to avoid the Abilene paradox, people need to learn how to manage agreement rather than conflict. Every...
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