The catfish effect is the effect that a strong competitor has in causing the weak to better themselves.
In Norway, live sardines are a few times more expensive than frozen ones. It was said that only one ship could bring live Sardine home, and the ship master kept his method a secret. When he later died, people found that there was one catfish in the container. The catfish keeps swimming and the sardine becomes very active to avoid direct contact with this catfish. This increased level of activity keeps the sardines alive instead of becoming sedentary.
In human resource management, this is a method used to motivate a team so that each member feels a strong competition, thus keeping up the competitiveness of the whole team.
Mushroom management is an allusion to a company’s staff being treated like mushrooms: kept in the dark, covered with dung, and, when grown big enough, canned (fired). The connotation is that the management is making decisions without consulting the staff affected by those decisions, and possibly not even informing the staff until well after such decisions are made.
This phenomenon is an anti-pattern most commonly found in organizations which have a strict hierarchy and barriers to cross-organizational communication (especially those with a stovepipe organization) but can be found in any organization.
The boiling frog story is a widespread anecdote describing a frog slowly being boiled alive. The premise is that if a frog is placed in boiling water, it will jump out, but if it is placed in cold water that is slowly heated, it will not perceive the danger and will be cooked to death. The story is often used as a metaphor for the inability or unwillingness of people to react to significant changes that occur gradually. According to contemporary biologists the premise of the story is not literally true; a frog submerged and gradually heated will jump out. However, some 19th-century experiments suggested that the underlying premise is true, provided the heating is sufficiently gradual.
The Hawthorne effect (also referred to as the observer effect) refers to a phenomenon whereby workers improve or modify an aspect of their behavior in response to the fact of change in their environment, rather than in response to the nature of the change itself.
The Peter Principle is a management theory which suggests that organizations risk filling management roles with people who are incompetent if they promote those who are performing well at their current role, rather than those who have proven abilities at the intended role. They suggest that people will tend to be promoted until they reach their “position of incompetence”.