Sunday, July 22, 2012

The "Survival of the Fittest" fallacy in organizations

Here's a quote from an article in Vanity Fair (July 3, 2012) titled, "Microsoft’s Downfall: Inside the Executive E-mails and Cannibalistic Culture That Felled a Tech Giant":

“Every current and former Microsoft employee I interviewed—every one—cited stack ranking as the most destructive process inside of Microsoft, something that drove out untold numbers of employees. ”[Kurt] Eichenwald writes. “If you were on a team of 10 people, you walked in the first day knowing that, no matter how good everyone was, 2 people were going to get a great review, 7 were going to get mediocre reviews, and 1 was going to get a terrible review,” says a former software developer. “It leads to employees focusing on competing with each other rather than competing with other companies.” [emphasis mine]

In my book, published in 2007, I wrote, "It [survival of the fittest] works fine if you are trying to fight, survive, and win as an individual. But in the organizational context, if everyone is busy fighting, surviving, and trying to win as individuals, will the organization survive and win?" (pages 147-148).

Comments? Email me cvdhruve (at)

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