5 years, 7 months ago

Enterprise Stockholm syndrome

Link: http://www.etc-architect.com/?p=190

Properly most of us have heard about the Stockholm syndrome in hostage cases were the the victim develops positive feelings against their captor or tormentor, often even to the point that they will stop the police from capturing their tormentor. The point known to only a few is that the syndrome actually happens most often in Enterprises and within Enterprise most often within the IT department. Actually about most IT departments that have been locked at by researchers have been diagnosed with the Stockholm syndrome in comparison with one in four in other ares of business. If you want to verify it search for post- purchase rationalisation or Buyer’s Stockholm syndrome which in the literature is classified as a common cognitive bias.

The really sad thing is that we are as architects are usually one of typical victims of the Stockholm syndrome, as the syndrome usually affects smarter people even more than less. So often architects will defend companies that are abusing them and the enterprise rather than using rational reasoning. Sadly the effects of the Stockholm syndrome are usually ignored as many architects and senior technical managers do not appreciate cognitive mental pattern as a key force. The other complication with the Stockholm syndrome is that people affected by it are unable to detect it and when it is pointed out will react rather violent on any suggestions to amend their way as this is part of the pathological path of this illness.

Pure detection of the Stockholm syndrome within companies is a task that is also hard to spot for people not knowledgable on the technical aspects as well as on the psychological aspects and even if you are skilled in both you will usually try to avoid the confrontation as it usually can get pretty ugly. I have personally been involved in many situations where I had to help fellow architects out of the Stockholm syndrome and if you try this it is usually best to either be a non permanent consultant such as myself or backed by non technical cognitive specialists from HR. Usually a combination of both is best.

The potential of dealing with Stockholm syndrome in a company are often rather large, especially if the syndrome has lingered for a long time. Often it is also impossible to resolve the syndrome without major disruptions in a department and therefore it is often allowed to persist. This also why most architects will need to learn how live with Stockholm syndrome present and to just their thinking.

The typical scenario is that of a consulting company coming in that offers a horrible service with only very junior or incompetent staff. The hiring company then usually will not kick this consultancy out, but instead listen more to the advice of that consultancy than that of their talented own senior staff and even hire more people from that consultancy. Another characteristics is that a company buys software that is clearly not fit for purpose and where the purchasing department has negotiated an opt out (so that the argument of sunken cost does not arise). But instead of the opt out the software is not only implemented but often even implemented for other business scenarios. The later scenario you will often find with ERP.

If you are an architect who wants to work in eliminating Stockholm syndrome that is often the root cause for many problems that the architect position was called for in the first instance, it is important that you first get yourself checked for Stockholm syndrome, as it sadly affects more people than you might think of.

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