Parkinson’s Law

출처: 신한 FSB 리뷰 – 트렌드②

파킨슨 법칙(Parkinson’s Law)이란?
파킨슨 법칙이란 영국의 역사학자 파킨슨이 제창한 사회생태학적 법칙으로‘사람은 상위 직급으로 올라가기 위해 부하직원의 수를 늘릴 필요가 있으므로 조직 구성원의 수는 업무량의 유무나 경중에 관계없이 일정한 비율로 증가한다’라는 현상을 수학적 법칙으로 정리한 것이다. 다시 말하면 조직은 주어진 구실이나 업무와는 관계없이 항상 사람을 늘어나게 하는 속성이 있다는 것이다. 바로 대기업병이나 관료조직의병폐도 이 같은 조직의 속성 때문이라고 할 수 있다.
일례로 어떤 사람에게 보고서를 제출할 기한으로 1주일을 준다면 그 일을 끝내는데 1주일을 다 쓸 것이다. 만일 똑같은 일을 2주일에 끝내도 괜찮다면 그 일을 완료하는데 2주일이 소요될 것이다. 업무자체가 복잡하거나 힘들지 않더라도 말이다. 이것은 직장 내에서 흔히 일어나는 불변의 법칙이다. 즉 업무는 그에 할당된 시간만큼 늘어지는 경향이 있다는 것이다.
조직에서 직원의 수는 일의 다소(多少)에 관계 없이 상위 직급으로 출세하기 위해 부하를 늘리려는 의도로 인해 항상 조직이 커지는 성향이 있다고 앞서 설명하였다.
파킨슨이 자신이 근무한 영국 해군성 사례를 연구하다 이러한 법칙을 발견하게 된 것이다. 1914년 62척이던 영국의 주력 군함이 1928년 20척으로 67.7%나 줄었지만 해군성 공무원 수는 2,000명에서 3,569명으로 78.4% 급증했다. 객관적인 직무는 줄었는데 사람은 늘어난 것이다. 또 2차대전 이후 전 세계 식민지 국가들이 잇따라 독립하면서 거의 기능을 잃어가던 영국 식민성이 1935년 직원 수가 372명에서 1954년에는 1,661명으로 사람을 늘린 사실도 발견했다. 파킨슨 법칙에 의하면 직원의 수는 업무량 변화와 상관없이 해마다 5.17~6.56% 범위에서 증가한다고 한다.

Parkinson’s law
Parkinson’s Law is the adage that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” A more succinct phrasing also commonly used is “work expands to fill the time available.” It was first articulated by Cyril Northcote Parkinson, appearing as the first sentence of a humorous essay published in The Economist in 1955, later reprinted together with other essays in the book Parkinson’s Law: The Pursuit of Progress (London, John Murray, 1958). He derived the dictum from his extensive experience in the British Civil Service.

The current form of the law is not that which Parkinson refers to by that name in the article. Rather, he assigns to the term a mathematical equation describing the rate at which bureaucracies expand over time. Much of the essay is dedicated to a summary of purportedly scientific observations supporting his law, such as the increase in the number of employees at the Colonial Office while Britain’s overseas empire declined (indeed, he shows that the Colonial Office had its greatest number of staff at the point when it was folded into the Foreign Office because of a lack of colonies to administer). He explains this growth by two forces: (1) “An official wants to multiply subordinates, not rivals” and (2) “Officials make work for each other.” He notes in particular that the total of those employed inside a bureaucracy rose by 5-7% per year “irrespective of any variation in the amount of work (if any) to be done.”

In time, however, the first-referenced meaning of the phrase has dominated, and sprouted several corollaries: for example, the derivative relating to computers: “Data expands to fill the space available for storage”. “Parkinson’s Law” could be generalized further still as: “The demand upon a resource tends to expand to match the supply of the resource.” An extension is often added to this, stating that “the reverse is not true.” This generalization has become very similar to the economic law of demand; that the lower the price of a service or commodity, the greater the quantity demanded.

Parkinson also proposed a rule about the efficiency of administrative councils. He defined a coefficient of inefficiency with the number of members as the main determining variable.

Application of Parkinson’s Law
Parkinson’s Law is applied in many arenas of human endeavour.

1. In Project Management, individual tasks with end-dates rarely finish early because the people doing the work expand the work to finish approximately at the end-date. Coupled with the Student syndrome, individual tasks are nearly guaranteed to be late. Note that this law has been contested as false and counter-productive to project management.
2. Individuals see this arise in their daily activities as well. No matter how many things one has on one’s plate, they all tend to get done. This leads to the canard, “If you want something done, give it to a busy person” because it appears they are better at “time management.” While this may be true, it is just that they are doing more and the work is not expanding indefinitely to fill non-busy time.
3. As an individual’s income rises, their costs of living and lifestyle increases to meet their income level.
4. Part of Cyril Northcote Parkinson’s observations are that once a core organisation exists, it will perpetuate and expand itself regardless of the reason it came into being.

“Parkinson’s Law”에 대한 한개의 댓글

  1. 핑백: GS test dem

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