There’s one of my many potted theories that I’ve recounted to a few folks over the past couple of weeks that I thought worth retelling here. It’s basically a way to keep your head up when confronted by the madness of corporate bureaucracy…

There is a whole body of knowledge in the world of Sociology known as Functionalism. In the world of Functionalism, in a sort of social Dawinism, everything can be explained with some sort of positive reason. Marxism in many ways is a form of Functionalism (where the answer to everything is “to allow the bourgeoisie to oppress the proletariat”). But theorists like the American Talcott Parsons saw

“… society as a system; a set of interconnected parts which together form a whole. There is a relationship between all these parts and agents of socialisation and together they all contribute to the maintenance of society as a whole.” 

Now, when it comes to the misery that can so often become facing the cliffs of bureaucracy in large organisations, it’s often easy to ask the question “What is it all for?” Well, here’s  my theory. Pointless bureaucracy that saps the will is there to stop large corporations becoming all-powerful and rapacious.

Let’s be honest, there’s little that national or even pan-national anti-monopoly regulators can do to keep global organisations in check. Nor is there much that tax regulators can do in the face of complex webs of profit shifting that seems to be the order of the day. But when you are facing the fortieth form that needs to be completed to allocate this months paper clip allowance, just remember that that act of pointless form filling is helping make sure that your organisation, alongside every other, won’t take over the world.

When even the world’s most valuable company seems to face the same challenges internally as the rest, it’s reassuring (to me at least) that the sort of crazy stuff that goes on has some sort of greater purpose…

3 thoughts on “Everything has a reason

  1. I’m impressed, I have to say. Really not often do I encounter a blog that’s both educative and entertaining, and let me tell you, you have hit the nail on the head. Your idea is outstanding; the problem is one thing that not enough persons are speaking intelligently about. I am very comfortable that I stumbled across this in my search for something regarding this.
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