Parkinson's law


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Related to Parkinson's law: Peter Principle, Murphy's Law

Parkinson's Law

A somewhat tongue-in-cheek adage stating: "Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion." This is used in project management and in other situations to describe why projects are often completed so close to deadline.

Parkinson's law

an observation by English management writer C Northcote Parkinson (1909-93) that ‘work expands to fill the time available for its completion’. As a result employees generally feel overworked whatever their actual workload. A solution favoured by managers and officials alike is the appointment of more subordinates to relieve them of some of their workload.

However, the greater the number of staff the more difficult the task of COORDINATION. Hence there is a tendency for certain coordinative mechanisms, such as committees, to proliferate. This in turn generates additional work which is reflected in pressure to increase employee numbers even further. Hence organizations have a tendency to grow in staff numbers even though the base workload may be unchanging. Parkinson's writings are generally viewed as humorous and perceptive asides on organizational life rather than propositions to be empirically tested.

Parkinson's law

an observation by Professor C. Northcote Parkinson suggesting that work expands according to the time available in which to do it. If this observation holds, then the inefficiency it creates poses a serious organizational problem for businesses of any significant size. See ORGANIZATION THEORY, X-INEFFICIENCY.
References in periodicals archive ?
In a further illustration of Parkinson's law that "expenditure rises to meet income," Greve and his colleagues also found that one of the strongest predictors of Medicaid growth in the 1990s was growth in state revenue collections.
Parkinson's Law is one of my favorites--work expands to fill the time available.
Our team members had to balance a full course load alongside robotics, so there was a high risk of Parkinson's Law taking effect.
YOU'RE probably familiar with Parkinson's Law (which states that all chat show hosts are useless, unless they come from Yorkshire and support Barnsley).
In a perverse sort of Parkinson's law, the amount of traffic on the motorway will expand to fill the available space.
We all know Parkinson's law that a job will expand to consume the time available.
I found that hard to believe and warned that the opposite could well occur if each 'DG' decided they wanted additional senior directors reporting to them - in true Parkinson's Law style.
The other workmen threatened to throw them overboard if they didn't slow down - the job was paid by the time taken, along the lines of Parkinson's Law.
Parkinson's law states that work expands to fill the time allotted.
There's Wogan's Law, which proves that Luxembourg will always get deux points in Eurovision; Bragg's Law, which states that anyone who went to Oxbridge will always mention it within seven-and-a-half minutes of starting an interview; Parkinson's Law, which maintains that all chat show hosts are useless unless they come from Yorkshire.
In the spatial equivalent of Parkinson's Law, where 'work expands so as to fill the time available', many manufacturing processes spread out to encompass any unused floor space.
Northcote Parkinson was the discoverer of Parkinson's Law, which states : "Work expands to fill the time available.
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