01 April, 2006

The Iguana Monologues

Bureaucracy In Action

The Iguana Monologues

Why pick on iguanas?

never did anything to me, it's just that they grow to the size of their environment. The bigger their cage, the bigger the lizard. Several years ago, while working at an office, I developed the Iguana Theory. That is, bureaucracies grow, and keep growing, until all their desks are full. The manager can squeeze in a few extras, but eventually space constraints will cause the tenured iguanas to fiercely resist any acceptance of new employees, once their allocated space is full.

At this point, the manager has only two options, but both entail expansion. He must either convince the boss that the entire company must expand and move to a new location,--which is very expensive and unlikely, or he can ridicule and de-value a neighboring clan of iguanas (a "department") to the boss, privately. Then, quite to the surprise of the unknowing "department", the boss decides to "renovate" the office giving more space to the "squeaky" manager so he can get more iguanas under his authority.

Bureaucracies, like iguanas, will always grow to the size of their surroundings, which is why the buildings are so big in Washington DC. Bureaucracies grow based on their department heads' abilities to enlarge the budgets and missions, given to them by their bosses. They do not grow by being effective at their mandate, if they were effective at their mandates, then the only hope of advancement would be the retirement of your department head. What fun would that be?

So, with all due respect to iguanas, we launch the Iguana Monologues, highlighting bureaucracy in-action.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Bureacracies are like the Borg, resistance is futile. Just ask Rumsfeld.
Resisting bureacracy growth is not unlike resisting gravity. Just can't be done.