The Mindlessness of Organizational Behaviors

Blake E. Ashforth, Yitzhak Fried

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

219 Scopus citations


Much organizational behavior is argued to be performed mindlessly, on the basis of scripts learned through organizational socialization, work experience, and symbolic management. While scripts conserve cognitive capacity, provide a basis for organizing and evaluating behavior, legitimate organizational activities, moderate role conflict, andfacilitate sense making, prediction, and control, they also induce a lack of vigilance and authenticity in operating routines, and bunkered perceptions, premature closure, and superstitious learning in decision making. Directions for future research include documenting the existence and effects of mindlessness, and exploring the predisposing conditions of script processing and means of maximizing the functional and minimizing the dysfunctional aspects of scripts on organizational effectiveness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)305-329
Number of pages25
JournalHuman Relations
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1988
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • General Social Sciences
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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