Saturday, July 25, 2015

How to Create Bureaucracy . . .

Unfortunately time has gotten away from me and I don't have a new item to post. Mea culpa. Please enjoy this repost from some years ago.

How To Create Bureaucracy, Policy, And Procedures 

1. Start with a cage containing five apes. In the cage, hang a banana on a string and put stairs under it. Before long, an ape will go to the stairs and start to climb towards the Banana. 

2. As soon as the ape touches the stairs, spray all of the apes with cold water. After a while, another ape makes an attempt with the same result-all the apes are sprayed with cold water. 

3. Turn off the cold water. If, later, another ape tries to climb the stairs, the other apes will try to prevent it even though no water sprays them. 

4. Now, remove one ape from the cage and replace it with a new one. The new ape sees the banana and wants to climb the stairs. To his horror, all of the other apes attack him. After another attempt and attack, he knows that if he tries to climb the stairs, he will be assaulted. 

5. Next, remove another of the original five apes and replace it with a new one. The newcomer goes to the stairs and is attacked. The previous newcomer takes part in the punishment with enthusiasm. 

6. Again, replace a third original ape with a new one. The new one makes it to the stairs and is attacked as well. Two of the four apes that beat him have no idea why they were not permitted to climb the stairs, or why they are participating in the beating of the newest ape. 

7. After replacing the fourth and fifth original apes, all the apes which have been sprayed with cold water have been replaced. 

Nevertheless, no ape ever again approaches the stairs. Why not? 

"BECAUSE that's the way it's always been done around here." 

If the above item seems a bit extreme, note the following comments by someone responding online to the above:

Heard a story about a woman who always cut the end off the leg of lamb before putting it in to roast, it was because her mother did.  When the mother was asked, it was for the same reason.  When the grandmother was asked, her answer was "because my pan is too small". The younger generations had the right size pans but continued to trim!

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