Law of the Instrument

The law of the instrument refers to the tendency for people to rely too heavily on a familiar tool or approach, even when it may not be the most appropriate or effective solution. This phenomenon, also known as the "hammer syndrome," occurs when people become so familiar and comfortable with a particular tool or approach that they apply it to a wide range of problems, regardless of the specific circumstances or needs.

One key factor contributing to the law of the instrument is the human desire for efficiency and the tendency to rely on familiar solutions in order to save time and effort. This can lead people to overlook or dismiss alternative approaches, even when they may be more effective in a given situation.

Another factor contributing to the law of the instrument is the confirmation bias, in which people actively seek out information that confirms their preexisting beliefs and assumptions, while ignoring or dismissing evidence that challenges them. This can lead to a self-reinforcing cycle, in which people continue to rely on the same tool or approach even in the face of contradictory evidence.

The law of the instrument can have significant consequences, including missed opportunities and suboptimal outcomes. It can also lead to a lack of innovation and creativity, as people may be reluctant to try new approaches or consider alternative solutions.

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Law of the instrument - Wikipedia

Law of the instrument - The Decision Lab

The “Law of the instrument” – From experience to meaning…