What is the Nut Island effect?

Nut Island Effect definition

The Nut Island effect is a phenomenon in companies in which teams of highly committed employees become isolated from managers' attention, causing the team to fall apart.

The Nut island effect usually occurs within teams of highly committed, skilled and motivated employees. Leaders and managers often give the team’s ability to function independently without support for granted. This translates into a gradual marginalization from the rest of the organization, and a team that becomes closed off to outside influence.

What are the causes responsible for the Nut Island effect?


  • Management distraction and team autonomy – Exists an environment where management is focused on other issues and the team is united, highly motivated and skilled. The team thrives on autonomy. This translates into the team reducing or completely stopping communication with management.
  • Presumptions and dissatisfaction – Management gives for granted team self-sufficiency and begins to neglect when assistance is needed. This results in team resentment towards management.
  • Separation – The team cohesiveness and dissatisfaction of management results in a separation: limited communication and refusal of assistance from outside the team.
  • Self-rule – To meet external requirements, the team creates self-imposed regulations which can generate occult problems.
  • Inevitable systemic failure and collapse – Management negligence and erroneous team self-regulation become regular, resulting in recurrent failure and, eventually, collapse.
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