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What is 'Silo Mentality'

Silo mentality is an attitude that is found in some organizations; it occurs when several departments or groups within an organization do not want to share information or knowledge with other individuals in the same organization. A silo mentality reduces the organization's efficiency and can contribute to a failing corporate culture.

BREAKING DOWN 'Silo Mentality'

A silo mentality can reflect negatively on a company. Managers of successful firms ensure that information flows freely between departments so all aspects of the company function effectively. Contemporary management views suggest that the silo mentality mindset must be broken for employees to remain motivated and be happy to come to work. Efficient companies promote the sharing of information to let the combination of groups function as a team.

Traditionally, a silo mentality is seen as a top-down issue, beginning with management and trickling down to individual contributor employees. It may also be seen between individual contributors when the employment situation feels competitive, such as within a commission-based profession where individual performance numbers directly affect compensation. It can also be witnessed between competing departments, such as marketing and sales, where some assigned duties exist, at least in part, in both departments.

It is often seen as intentional, as a silo mentality includes the desire to withhold information from other departments. The lack of cross-departmental communication can negatively impact workflow, as information is not passing freely across the organization. This can result in departments working with inaccurate or out-of-date information.

A silo mentality can negatively affect employee morale, especially when employees are aware of the issue and are unable to do anything to change it. The informational bottleneck results in inefficiency as different departments may be working with different understandings for project completion.

Combating Silo Mentality Within an Organization

Creating a sense of unity within an organization can help combat a silo mentality. Gearing the organization to work towards a single goal can create a sense of community between departments, encouraging more open communication. Taking the time to recognize successes can help encourage and support open interaction.

Silo Mentality and Third Parties

A silo mentality can also affect how a business interacts with third parties, such as supply vendors or service providers, as well as other similar businesses. When applied to supply and service providers, this can result miscommunication regarding deliverables as well as other expectations of the relationship. While a silo mentality is more understandable between competitors, a lack of industry-specific informational exchange can have negative consequences.

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