When an organization first matures, it is likely
to be an effective and efficient operation. Its goals, design, rules,
methods, tools, and personnel have been well selected and developed.
The organization chugs along doing a very good job.
Over time the organization is very likely to start
to degenerate. Here are some of the reasons.
- People involved in the original design and
building of the organization did not have the ability, foresight,
or time to write a guiding document that tells
the origination operates the way it does. When they leave for
other work or die, there is no "history" to guide their
replacements. The replacements often do not really understand the
organization, its goals, and operation.
- The Peter Principle begins to operate.
This is where successful lower level managers are promoted simply
because they have been successful in their present jobs.
Unfortunately, quite often they are incompetent in their new
positions. There is a great reluctance to demote them or fire
them. They stay in the positions for which they are incompetent.
Eventually many positions become filled with incompetent people.
- Well meaning people with good motives and
wanting to make a name for themselves begin to make changes. Some
of these changes have unintended bad consequences. The
person who made the changes is often gone by the time the negative
effects are recognized. Their replacement does not know the
history of what was before, or why the organization does things
the way it does. ("We've always done it that way, so there must be
a good reason.")
- It does not recognize the changes, their
meaning for the organization, or how they should adapt to meet the
changes. (For schools, societal changes were not adequately
- [In the case of our schools, the raw
materials (the students) have changed. The school system has not
adequately adapted to compensate for those
From the above it should be clear that changes
occur in little bits over a long time. Nobody really notices the
totality of the changes, nor understands their real effects. Cause
and effect relationships can be poorly understood, or not seen at
creep occurs because of these thinking
- The changes sounded good at the time. They did
not look for things that would discredit the idea. (See
& Theories on the Thinking
- Members of the bureaucracy did not take the
time to test the changes before widely implementing them. This is
a form of arrogance: "I am so good that my ideas do not have to be
- A system approach was not adequately applied.
Changes were considered (too much) in isolation from other
factors. (A form of tunnel vision!)
- Inadequate data used.
- Lack of overview of the entire system. (Lack
of system thinking.)
- Contradictory data ignored. (People tend to do
- Societal changes were not adequately
- (Schools) Changes in the children were not
adequately taken into account
- Increased learning disabilities
- Impact by societal changes
- Poor development of personhood outside of
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