Parkinson's law

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Related to Parkinsons law: Parkinson disease

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.