C. Northcote Parkinson Quotes

The void created by the failure to communicate is soon filled with poison, drivel and misrepresentation.

Delay is the deadliest form of denial.

Parkinson’s First Law: Work expands to fill the time available.

Administrators make work for each other so that they can multiply the number of their subordinates and enhance their prestige.

The vacuum created by a failure to communicate will quickly be filled with rumor, misrepresentations, drivel, and poison.

Parkinson’s Fourth Law: The number of people in any working group tends to increase regardless of the amount of work to be done.

If there is a way to delay an important decision, the good bureaucracy, public or private, will find it.

Expenditure rises to meet income.

No king or minister could have instructed Newton to discover the law of gravity, for they did not know and could not know that there was such a law to discover. No Treasury official told Fleming to discover penicillin. Nor was Rutherford instructed to split the atom by a certain date.

The man who is denied the opportunity of taking decisions of importance begins to regard as important the decisions he is allowed to take.

The Law of Triviality… briefly stated, it means that the time spent on any item of the agenda will be in inverse proportion to the sum involved.

Perfection of planned layout is achieved only by institutions on the point of collapse.

The man whose life is devoted to paperwork has lost the initiative. He is dealing with things that are brought to his notice, having ceased to notice anything for himself.

Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion. General recognition of this fact is shown in the proverbial phrase “It is the busiest man who has time to spare.”

Perfection of planning is a symptom of decay. During a period of exciting discovery or progress, there is no time to plan the perfect headquarters.

The man who is denied the opportunity of taking decisions of importance begins to regard as important the decisions he is allowed to take. He becomes fussy about filing, keen on seeing that pencils are sharpened, eager to ensure that the windows are open (or shut) and apt to use two or three different-colored inks.

Make the people sovereign and the poor will use the machinery of government to dispossess the rich.

Imagination is essential and it comes first, for without imagination we are aimless.

When any organizational entity expands beyond 21 members, the real power will be in some smaller body.

People of great ability do not emerge, as a rule, from the happiest background. So far as my own observation goes, I would conclude that ability, although hereditary, is improved by an early measure of adversity and improved again by a later measure of success.

It is the busiest man who has time to spare.

Expenditures rise to meet income.

A committee is organic rather than mechanical in its nature: it is not a structure but a plant. It takes root and grows, it flowers, wilts, and dies, scattering the seed from which other committees will bloom in their turn.

The chief product of an automated society is a widespread and deepening sense of boredom.

Deliberative bodies become decreasingly effective after they pass five to eight members.