Scott Belsky

Bureaucracy was born out of the human desire for complete assurance before taking action.

Gary Hamel

In most organizations the costs of bureaucracy are largely hidden. Our accounting systems don’t measure the costs of inertia, insularity, disempowerment, and all the other forms of bureaucratic drag. Nowhere do we capture the costs of a management model that perpetuates a caste system of thinkers (managers) and doers (everyone else), that regards human beings as mere “resources,” that values conformance above all else, … [ Read more ]

Clay Shirky

Institutions will try to preserve the problem to which they are the solution.

Allan Cohen

Bureaucracy was developed to solve the problem of how to get work done by people who might not have the skills, experience, motivation or training to make wide-ranging decisions, but who could do work that was carefully prescribed and circumscribed. By limiting the scope of latitude through defined positions, rules and procedures, organizations could leverage the talents of those few at the top who had … [ Read more ]

Admiral Hyman Rickover

If you’re going to sin, sin against God, not the bureaucracy. God will forgive you, but the bureaucracy won’t.

Roger Martin

The role of big companies is to turn great people into mediocre organizations.

Fred Allen

A committee is a group of men who individually can do nothing, but as a group decide that nothing can be done.

Alvin Toffler

Bureaucratic institutions in both the private and public sector break up knowledge and its components, storing and processing them in separate compartments, or ‘stovepipes’. Over time, these stovepipes multiply, as ever-more narrow specialization increases the number of uncrossable boundaries. This makes it extremely difficult to cope with fastchanging new problems requiring knowledge that falls beyond artificial departmental borders.To complicate matters, guarding each stovepipe is an … [ Read more ]

Russell Ackoff

The only thing harder than starting something new in a bureaucracy is stopping something old. So the trick is not to ask to start something new — just start it. If you wait and ask for forgiveness for having done something you did not get permission for, you’re much more likely to get away with it than if you go and say, “Can I do … [ Read more ]

Kanter (Rosabeth Moss?)

If the bureaucratic trap is like a cage that restricts the opportunities for people to contribute all they can, the entrepreneurial trap is a void, a black hole into which people disappear when they lack direction or accountability. The issue is balance: enough breadth in jobs and decentralization in decisions to allow initiative and creativity, but enough discipline and direction and controls to focus local … [ Read more ]

Hyman Rickover

If you have a choice of sinning against God or the bureaucracy, sin against God, because He will forgive you, and the bureacracy will not.