Rudolf Hanel, Peter Klimek, Stefan Thurner

Paper #: 08-12-055

We formulate three famous, descriptive essays of C.N. Parkinson on bureaucratic inefficiency in a quantifiable and dynamical socio-physical framework. In the first model we show how the use of recent opinion formation models for small groups can be used to understand Parkinson’s observation that decision making bodies such as cabinets or boards become highly inefficient once their size exceeds a critical ’Coefficient of Inefficiency’, typically around 20. A second observation of Parkinson – which is sometimes referred to as Parkinson’s Law – is that the growth of bureaucratic or administrative bodies usually goes hand in hand with a drastic decrease of its overall efficiency. In our second model we view a bureaucratic body as a system of a flow of workers, which enter, become promoted to various internal levels within the system over time, and leave the system after having served for a certain time. Promotion usually is associated with an increase of subordinates. Within the proposed model it becomes possible to work out the phase diagram under which conditions bureaucratic growth can be confined. In our last model we assign individual efficiency curves to workers throughout their life in administration, and compute the optimum time to send them to old age pension, in order to ensure a maximum of efficiency within the body – in Parkinson’s words we compute the ’Pension Point.’