The marginal value of one contrary opinion may be greater than the sum of all others when a team or class suffers from groupthink. In the business world there seldom is a single right answer. There are opportunity costs, threats, and resources. Managers choose between different alternatives. Because of this it is necessary to have an open mind, to use all resources, and understand all opinions. It is not so necessary to debate about which one is "right" out of context of a specific set of circumstances. In Fair Play the author begins by implying that teachers are horrible for teaching children to not use drugs. In later chapters he then explains how "buying American" was invented by the devil in the form of men like Ross Perot. The truth is he is right, and he is also very wrong. Debate tends to make people become radical and defensive in building up rational and logical resistances. Politicians, lawyers, economists, and philosophers are the easiest people to catch in contradiction (though they will deny it the loudest) simply because there are so many variables which can change the world's paradigm. All of these social sciences have their place, but moderation can add much value to any business endeavor.
Posted by scott at 2/10/2005 08:17:00 PM