Bureaucratic Inertia

Mixed signals…

Organisations tend on the whole towards an inadvertent orientation for the reproduction of the policies and procedures (as axioms) that were originally cultivated to assist that organisation to perform its defining task, to address its asserted problem space. In this way, we observe the reproduction of procedural systems and behavioural, cognitive or otherwise normative grammars begin to co-opt organisational momentum and gradually abstract itself (as an excess cost) above and beyond the initial goals of that organisation.

 Many an organisation becomes in this way little more than an effective (over-)investment in the sustainable reproduction of its own behavioural orthodoxies and conventional thinking. This is precisely how bureaucracies become so top-heavy and overladen with functional inertia. This is also how the abstractions of organisational management acquire their own semi-detached and self-propagating complexities that very often do nothing much more than reproduce and self-validate their own continued (and often ineffective) existence.

This is an instance of sociotechnical complexity where the path of least resistance (of acquiescing and going along with endemic organisational inefficiencies) provides personal – if not authentic professional – benefit at the cost of overall organisational effectiveness. Information and energy-processing systems (of which organisations are an example) tend by physics as much as logic towards the lowest-energy path towards an emergent, sustainable continuity. Bureaucratic dead weight is an endless reproduction of (and as) the organisational transmission medium through which it itself optimally commutes as a “false vacuum” ground state. This requires applied intelligence to disentangle and optimise.

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