Seth Godin’s terrific post on willful ignorance today caused an immediate snap reaction thought: “Malicious Compliance.”
Malicious Compliance is what you get from that DMV clerk who falls back on a meticulous compliance with state policy, even when it’s not necessary. Or the sales clerk who counts your garments and only lets you walk into the dressing room with 5 (not 6) articles of clothing–even in a completely empty store.
You get a lot of Malicious Compliance from clerks of all types. I’ll bet a significant fraction of clerks are also willfully ignorant–just like a lot of MBAs I’ve met.