Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The intelligent dolphin Kelly and the smart human workforce

“All the dolphins at the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies in Mississippi are trained to hold onto any litter that falls into their pools until they see a trainer, when they can trade the litter for fish. In this way, the dolphins help to keep their pools clean.
Kelly, one of the dolphins has taken this task one step further. When people drop paper into the water she hides it under a rock at the bottom of the pool. The next time a trainer passes, she goes down to the rock and tears off a piece of paper to give to the trainer. After a fish reward, she goes back down, tears off another piece of paper, gets another fish, and so on.
This behaviour is interesting because it shows that Kelly has a sense of the future and delays gratification. She has realised that a big piece of paper gets the same reward as a small piece and so delivers only small pieces to keep the extra food coming.
Isn’t it the same that happens in many big organizations and in bureaucracy? The behavior might stem from two entirely different reasons; It could be an inherent trait of the individual to work less for getting more and adopts the Kelly mechanism as above. The other case is the red tape associated with the big institutions where they are pushed to apply Kelly’s approach. 

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