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April 1958

Parkinson's Law, and Other Studies in Administration.

AMA Arch Intern Med. 1958;101(4):842. doi:10.1001/archinte.1958.00260160166029

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We have seen a spate of books dealing with the inevitable confusions and frustrations of a society in which institutions proliferate at a rate far faster than any faint improvement in the moral or intellectual capacities of man. We have been told about these in "The Managerial Revolution" and "The Organization Man." Medical people long familiar with Parkinsonism, Parkinson's disease, or Parkinson's syndrome will be pleased to learn of the recent discovery and mathematical demonstration of Parkinson's law. In any event, a citizen purporting to be one C. Northcote Parkinson, "Raffles Professor of History at the University of Malaya," defines briefly and in Parkinson's own and splendid style, Parkinson's law. It holds that in any administrative organization, administrators multiply at a rate of increase of approximately six per cent per annum no matter what. His derivation of the formula shows mathematical genius of a kind never quite achieved by Einstein.

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