Wednesday, February 19, 2014

A Spate of Points on Government Bureaucracy

a) As bureaucracies increase in size, information constantly gets distorted and the opportunities for corruption grow exponentially.............b) Success is often defined by the size of the budget - the bigger, the better.............c) There is no inherent incentive for government bureaucracies to not waste money.............d) Work expands as to fill the time available for its completion ("Parkinson's Law") and the size of bureaucracies inevitably grows (either through officials multiplying subordinates or officials making work for each other).............e) Due to inherent features in the rules which apparently govern the placement of employees, it is all too often the case that a person will eventually go from a level of competence to one of incompetence ("The Peter Principle"); an accumulation of deadwood at administrative levels frequently the end result.............f) Internal consistency is frequently prized to a much greater degree than innovation (both generally and when it comes to promoting people).............g) The hubris of politicians, when combined with the inherent tendencies of bureaucracies to grow, almost inevitably produces "mission creep".............h) Bureaucratic regulation almost always creates negative and unintended consequences, the governmental solution of which generally being MORE bureaucratic regulation.

3 comments:

dmarks said...

This happens in the private sector, of course. But houses of cards like this do eventually come crashing down, as it is not sustainable.

It is only sustainable in the government sector, because the rulers at the top who enable this, and have a close relationship with the bureacrats (think Gru and the Minions) have the ability to steal tax money from the people, and also use the force of law to crush competition, so situations that would kill an organization 'out in the real world' get perpetuated.

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As for what you mentioned in "H", Will? We need more information on that and shouldn't jump to conclusions. I suggest appointing a blue ribbon commission (authorized to carry out any necessary regulations), fully funded, in order to get to the bottom of this. Run by a cabinet-level czar, of course.

BB-Idaho said...

I would add that guv bureaucracy
(indeed we note it in large business as well) can suffer from
'kingdom building': an individual
accumulating funding, enlarging
his 'kingdom' and gaining org. power to no end other than personal aggrandizement; frequently to the detriment of
other org. units. Way back, when
I was a kid manager, I watched an operator take advantage of a weak
division mgr. He assumed more and more responsibilities, fouled up operations and was seemingly immune or unknown to the ivory tower. He showed up in my office with the div mgr. announced he was taking my job and transferring me to his. I spent the next day repairing his disorganization, and got a call from the ceo. telling me to return
to my departments, that 'Mr X' has been terminated and escorted from the operations by security guards. But more often than not,
the 'kingdom builders' succeed and seldom to the good of the org.

Rational Nation USA said...

Not much to add BB Idaho, quite accurately stated by you. I just know I'm happy after 35 years of it to be away from business management.