Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Behind "Parkinson's Law" is a formula

Over the course of the summer, as I planned my classes for this semester, I thought that I would finish earlier than usual, but here I am still preparing the syllabus for a class that first meets on Friday. "The work expands to fill the time allotted" – that's the phrase that keeps coming back to me. I wondered where the idea comes from: it's "Parkinson's Law", formulated in 1955 by Cyril Northcote Parkinson, who went on to publish a 1957 book about it. Parkinson was referring to the growth of bureaucracy over time – and he even formulated it as an equation involving how much staff growth can be expected every year. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 22 September 2021)


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