has its roots in psychology and has been proven to be true. It
is a great example of why I hate the phrase "Because that's
the way it has always been done."
Start with a cage containing five monkeys.
In the cage, hang a banana on a string and put a set of stairs
Before long, a monkey will go to the stairs and start to
climb towards the banana.
As soon as he touches the stairs, spray all of the monkeys
with cold water.
After a while, another monkey makes an attempt with the
same result (all the monkeys are sprayed with cold water).
Pretty soon, when any monkey tries to climb the stairs,
the other monkeys will try to prevent it.
Now, turn off the cold water. Remove one monkey from the
cage and replace it with a new one. The new monkey sees the
banana and wants to climb the stairs. To his horror, all of
the other monkeys attack him.
After another attempt and attack, he knows that if he tries
to climb the stairs, he will be assaulted.
Next, remove another of the original five monkeys and replace
it with a new one. The newcomer goes to the stairs and is attacked.
The previous newcomer takes part in the punishment with enthusiasm.
Again, replace a third original monkey with a new one. The
new one makes it to the stairs and is attacked as well. Two
of the four monkeys that beat him have no idea why they were
not permitted to climb the stairs, or why they are participating
in the beating of the newest monkey.
After replacing the fourth and fifth original monkeys, all
the monkeys which have been sprayed with cold water have been
Nevertheless, no monkey ever again approaches the stairs.
Because that's the way it's always been around here. And
that's how company policy begins...