Malicious Compliance

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.

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