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silo – noun (plural silos)

silo – verb

In the world of management and IT jargon, silos exist only to be torn down.

The Silo Mentality is a mindset present when certain departments or sectors do not wish to share information with others.

The silo effect refers to getting “stuck” in a small group with restricted options and a limited vision of the future.

Universities are still very siloed in their operations - e.g. business vs. medicine, engineering vs. business, etc.


Silo has a couple of literal meanings: a round tower or other structure on a farm used for storing grain, animal feed, etc; or a large underground structure for storing missiles. Metaphorical silos, however, are the ways in which we operate when we work within closed units that have little contact or interaction with other units. In particular, organizations that have silos are ones where information is held within departments that do not want or know how to share it with others, leading to inefficiencies and misunderstandings.


The silo mentality has been identified as a problem not only within business but also in other areas of activity such as healthcare, where sharing information could improve outcomes and even save lives.




The metaphor of the silo was first applied to business management by Phil S. Ensor in the late 1980s, when he coined the term functional silo syndrome to describe the problems he saw in the companies he worked for and advised. He may have been inspired by the huge grain silos that are a regular feature of the rural landscape in his home state of Illinois.


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