COB-57: holding an organization together

The entrepreneurial fashion for a flat organization potentially threatens bureaucracy’s future.  Fortunately, venture capitalists are beginning t0 recognize the value of bureaucracy.  Here’s leading venture capitalist Ben Horowitz’s Law of Crappy People:

For any title level in a large organization, the talent on that level will eventually converge to the crappiest person with the title.

Horowitz’s Law of Crappy People provides a concrete theoretical foundation for constructing a bureaucratic hierarchy.  Horowitz’s Law implies that flat organizations create massive dumbing-down.  With a flat organization, every person in the organization will converge to the capabilities of the least talented person in the organization.

Multi-multi-multi-level management avoids the the problem of widespread dumbing-down.  To make it work, organizational leaders must stem bureaucracies’ natural tendency toward an inverted-pyramid structure.  Large, well-established technology organizations often have an engineer working for three Branch Managers, who in turn report to Six Division Managers, who are accountable to twelve Vice Presidents.  A better bureaucratic hierarchy is more linear, with the Engineer reporting to just one Branch Manager, who reports to just one Product Marketing Designer, who reports to just one Lead Brand Architect Coordinator, and so on. The ultimate organizational goal is to have a clear, linear chain of command stretching from the Engineer all the way up to the CEO. This organizational structure completely mitigates effects of Horowitz’s Law of Crappy People.

Generating all the necessary job titles for well-structured multi-multi-multi-level management requires good tools.  Fortunately, an excellent coder working in the large-animal sanitation industry has developed an open-source, peer-to-peer, automated job-title generator.  This automated job-title generator is an important contribution to the bureaucratic business ecology.  It can help to create the jobs that knit together a bureaucratic organization.

deadwood holds the structure together

Other bureaucratic issues this month: Mark Potts at Recovering Journalist savages the Gannett Company for investing in a new corporate logo and slogan amidst the newspaper industry meltdown. If the Newseum can try Elvis, why can’t Gannett try a new logo and slogan?  Bureaucracies are criticized if they innovate, and criticized if they don’t innovate.

John D. Cook at The Endeavour reports an insightful historical anecdote about meetings from Karl Fogel’s book, Producing Open Source Software. According to the anecdote, Thomas Jefferson, a revered U.S. founder, attached great importance to meetings and prepared extensively for them.  Here at the Carnival of Bureaucrats, we have long advocated for meetings.

That’s all for this month’s Carnival of Bureaucrats.  Enjoy previous bureaucratic carnivals here.  Nominations of posts to be considered for inclusion in next month’s carnival should be submitted using Form 376: Application for Bureaucratic Recognition.

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