The literature is full of suggestions to break down silos which build over time within large organizations.
I was wondering why they form in the first place. Is there maybe a benefit or a psychological reason for this tendency?
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Silo's form due to local optimization of team or department goals over the goals of the whole organization. For a stark example, let's pretend I have a database team who is measured on database performance, up-time, and data integrity. Allowing others to make changes to the database can put all of these at risk, even if it means faster delivery of features or a more effective application overall. The team starts walling off their work and only focusing on their work - some time passes and you get silos.
This doesn't have to be technical concerns that create local optimization. I worked one place where a manager's bonus was based off of headcount, which in turn was based off of how much work a particular team had, so as a manager, I would be financially motivated to not let anyone do any of "our" work. This also led to extreme silo'ing. In all cases, it is reenforced by local optimization.
Daniel's answer is a great description of things that reinforce or exacerbate silos. The ultimate root cause has go to do with a group's sense of identity. Tribes are silos. So are countries (and they jostle to protect/further their own interests).