Our Trip to Abilene

One of most instructive concepts in organizational behavior is Jerry Harvey’s Abilene Paradox in which an organization takes a course of action that no one believes is correct but they do so because each member of the group thinks the others are really in favor of it.

The slots bill wending its way through the General Assembly has a lot of features of a trip to Abilene.

I find it hard to believe that anyone thinks adding a right to play slots to Maryland’s constitution is a super idea. In fact, it is a profoundly stupid idea for reasons highlighted by Brian Griffiths and the Examiner’s editorial board. The amendment process seems calculated to produce the lowest possible level of revenue from slots and attempts suspend principles of economics in the process.

The only reason for proceding with an amendment is that everyone thinks everyone else really wants a constitutional referendum. The other alternative, that everyone thinks it is a great idea, is simply too scary to contemplate.

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