The power of stupidity is Amazing. Its rampant in companies and I have had a serious headache trying to understanding what was going on.. I have finally come to understand it...
Here is a scenario based of it a recent event.
3 team members work for a department. They are given a blind choice:
A) perform an hard task and earn the company 120 dollars.
B) perform an easy task and earn the company 90 dollars.
* The choice is blind. you don't know what other people will choose until your committed.
* Both tasks take the same amount of time and become easier with more people.
* The tasks require at least 2 people to be doable.
* The reward doesn't scale with number of people.
* An employee who does not earn at least 30 dollars will be fired.
Now lets say that you the intelligent engineer realize the more your company earns the better off you are also. So your choice is A. Your assuming your rational team mates will also choose A the maximize the companies profit to 120. each of you would earn 40 dollars and keep your jobs.
Now what if your 2 team mates choose B. You have no support and can't complete your task.. you earn 0 and get fired. Your team mates each earn 45, far above the goal and get bonuses! And the company makes 90 dollars. but now they need to hire a replacement for you and have to pay out the bonuses to your team mates. So over all the company and you got screwed.. Furthermore the company has lost the good worker and reinforced the laziness of the other team mates... Also the new hire is subjected to this environmentally reinforced bad behavior and is high likely to fall prey to it on the next task...