Chaos Manor's Jerry Pournelle has passed away. This is his Iron Law of Bureaucracy:

Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy states that in any bureaucratic organization there will be two kinds of people:

First, there will be those who are devoted to the goals of the organization. Examples are dedicated classroom teachers in an educational bureaucracy, many of the engineers and launch technicians and scientists at NASA, even some agricultural scientists and advisors in the former Soviet Union collective farming administration.

Secondly, there will be those dedicated to the organization itself. Examples are many of the administrators in the education system, many professors of education, many teachers union officials, much of the NASA headquarters staff, etc.
The Iron Law states that in every case the second group will gain and keep control of the organization. It will write the rules, and control promotions within the organization.

Such clear thinking is now rare.


Anonymous said…
Men are always peddling quick silver bullets for the problems of large organizations, and rendering Manichaean judgments upon them, but there is simply no substitute for good management. Sustained and competent managerial oversight is the only thing separating the corrupt and incompetent NYPD of the "Serpico" era from the discipline and professionalism of today.