I recently read my way through a few dozen posting’s of Bob Sutton’s blog Work Matters. Lots of fun stuff there if your interested in coordination problems. I particularly liked this one about how you can reveal that all your coworkers are incompetent, malingering, and untrustworthy fools.
A pair of interesting studies on sleep deprivation were published in the October issue of the Academy of Management Journal by Michael Christian and Aleksander Ellis. In both a field study with 171 nurses and a more controlled laboratory study with students, they found that when people suffered sleep deprivation, they suffered both a loss self control (measured with items like “my will power is gone” and reverse-scored “I feel calm and rational”) and to feel more hostile (measured with items like “scornful” and “disgusted”). In turn, these foul emotional states led the nurses to engage in more workplace deviance, things falsifying receipts for reimbursement, dragging out work to get overtime, used drugs or booze on the job, said something hurtful to someone at work, and intentionally working slower. The ugliness observed in the workplace was replicated in a more controlled experiment with 75 students” half the students were kept awake by the experimenters for a night in the lab and the other half arrived from a good night’s sleep in the morning. The results were replicated in the lab study, and the added twist was that the experimenters created a situation where there was an incentive for students to steal an answer sheet for a test they took, and there was more stealing by the sleep deprived students.
So, to reveal your coworker’s incompetence I prescribe: hard work! They will then stay up late. For increased efficacy be sure everybody in your organization is sleep deprived.