Dangerous Bureaucracies

Dangerous Bureaucracies

One of the first actions taken by Jack Welch when he became CEO, was to cut back the bureaucracy at Fairfield, GE’s headquarters.

He saved, in today’s dollars, at least $50 million in annual payroll, exclusive of benefits, etc.

More importantly, he eliminated a drag on productivity and on the company’s prosperity.

As a person responsible for one of GE’s businesses, I has happy for the change.

Corporations today are bogged down with bureaucrats, especially in the HR Department.

The government is especially burdened by bureaucrats.

Parkinson's LawOne of the first books tackling this problem was Parkinson’s Law.


My copy was published in 1957. The preface was written by C. Northcote Parkinson in Singapore, in 1957.

Chapter 8, Injelititis, or Palsied Paralysis, may be most appropriate, though Chapter 5, The Short List, or Principles of Selection, and Chapter 6, Plans and Plants, or The Administrative Block, may also be appropriate.

Of course, Chapter 2, The Will of the People, should not be ignored.

While the settings used by Parkinson are no longer plausible, the message still resonates.

The long and short or these chapters, is that bureaucracies are bad for corporations and especially harmful for governments.

It would appear today, that Injelititis has infected too many American corporations after having spread from a badly infected government.

Hopefully, injelititis won’t be fatal.

In fact, Parkinson did explain how the disease could be cured, so there is hope.

Here is a short paragraph, about a cure, from the book:

“The operation first performed by that great surgeon involves, simply, the removal of the infected parts and the simultaneous introduction of new blood … The operation has sometimes succeeded. It is only fair to add that it has also sometimes failed. The new blood may be unobtainable and may fail … On the other hand, this drastic method offers, beyond question, the best chance of a complete cure.”

But the disease must first be recognized by people willing to risk their careers to treat the disease.

. . . 



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