Many years ago, after a particularly frustrating day interacting with production (when we still manufactured in Canada), I complained to my supervisor -- the Gradin portion of this theory -- that "If you took two people and added their IQs together..." At that point, I paused momentarily, and he immediately interjected, "You would get a negative number."
The engineer in me wondered if this could be possible. This led me to a plausible explanation. The MBA in me wanted this expressed as a theory. Boredom while waiting for a plane's departure led me to write this down.
The Gradin-Kagan effect (or worker empowerment: phooey)
Any element of society is subject to the law of entropy. Unless forced to assume some entity by an external force, it will degenerate into a form that approaches chaos. In the absence of clear, unambiguous, nonconflicting, and attainable goals, the Gradin-Kagan Effect will manifest itself as follows:
Hypothesis No. 1 (Kagan's Law or the inverse synergy effect): When two or more people work together, the effective IQ of the group is almost always less than the simple sum of their individual IQs. IQ is not a scalar quantity. It has at least one other dimension that prevents the simple addition of IQs when several people work together.
Hypothesis No. 2 (Gradin's Law): When two or more people work together, the effective IQ will always give a negative number. In a normal distribution of the vector IQs of a group, it would be expected that the second dimensions of the IQs would cancel each other out, giving an effective IQ of zero. However, in what must be a previously unobserved effect of Murphy's Law, the effective IQ is always less than zero.
Hypothesis No. 3: Any person working in a group will have his/her IQ reduced when making any simple decision. Through some perverse feedback effect, as yet unexplained, the negative number derived through Gradin's Law is added to each individual IQ, thereby reducing that IQ. For example, an individual with sufficient IQ to distinguish which end of a burning cigarette to put in his mouth, in a workgroup setting, would happily lick the hot end and still be surprised at the resulting burn.
According to the Dilbert Principle, all management is incompetent. As a result, there may never be a situation where the Gradin-Kagan Effect is ever negated by suitable goals.
By the way, the burning cigarette part is true.
Have you ever felt frustrated enough with the stupidity of other people that you would be willing to share your experiences with the rest of us?
@Antedeluvian: Yesterday I got asked by a customer if a fuse was rated at 240V, 2A, would it change the ratings to 4A at 120V.
I had a sort of related "brain fart" the other day when I was calculating the power for a bunch of LEDs for a display -- when I added in the other stuff it all came to about 20A and I had a moment of panic thinking: "But my household sockets are only rated for 15A"
Then I came to my senses and realized that that's 15A at 120V -- while I needed 20A at 5V -- maybe I'm getting old (although I prefer to think of it as "maturing like a fine cheese" :-)
Also reminds me of a specification for a power supply that I was reviewing for the aeros[pace industry. It specified that voltage to be V volts and a current to be I amps and a power output of P watts. And P bore no resemblance to V*I
I would argue that Gradin's law is even more applicable to groups of people who are not engineers. that 's the "touchy-feely" kind of people who actually take people's reactions into account. When that happens, nothing gets done. The total IQ is exponentially more negative than with engineers. Why? Because with engineers, there is atleast some logic involved.
Here in California, we have the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), which employs the lowest intelligence people on the planet! I was just telling a colleague today that they must have a test to see if applicants are stupid, and they only hire them if they test stupid. Here's an example from some years ago: I lived on a street with a Spanish name, Avenida de las Flores, and I spelled it out over the phone for the brain-dead person from the DMV. I included "space" between the four words of the street name. The DMV clerk remarked that it was a very long name (should have been my first clue). When I received my letter from the DMV in the mail, it read "AvenidaSpaceDeSpaceLasSpaceFlores"! I kid you not! Silly me, I should have framed the envelope and kept it for the rest of my life!
On the other hand, here where I work we have people working in the cafeteria bussing trays and such who have very low intelligence. Some may even have Down's syndrome. But that's OK; the tasks they are assigned get done just fine because they don't require much intelligence. More power to them. I think there's just a disconnect between what the jobs require at the DMV (and other places, I'm sure) and the capabilities of the people hired to do them.