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organisational procrastination


Organisational Procrastination

I’m doing some research on what I am tentatively calling “Organisational Procrastination” and I’m seeking the experiences of others.
Organisational Procrastination is the behaviour that manifests itself when people exhibit inertia rather than action for a reason that is not entirely logical; for example
~ A public sector organisation who delay all decisions regarding buying training in the run up to a general election on the grounds that the next government may have differing priorities
~ A private sector company who defer all invoice payments in order to keep the bank balance high in the lead up to a floatation
~ Managers who delay action on an initiative because they want to “run it past” the CEO but then never get it past Any Other Business on the agenda
~ Directors who delay action on an initiative because there is no apparent dedicated junior manager to whom it can be delegated if they give it the go ahead

This MAY be a result of a formal policy decision but is more often an informal "feeling" that it is "safer" to follow the line of inaction.

Please either log your experiences here or e-mail them to me at All responses will be treated in confidence

rus slater

4 Responses

  1. organisational procrastination
    How about contracting out every job possible so that your company appears to have a low fixed cost base?

  2. Another public sector one
    An organisation that uses consultants to implement a change management process but fails to take action on the conclusions and recommendations of the way forward after change has happened and handover is imminent, for fear of failure. “They fixed it so we shouldn’t tinker.”

    The theory of Lean Thinking has a lot to say about it, they look at process failures a lot ie. if no one is complaining about it then there can’t be anything wrong with it or our process often a perception of safety is the factor that is holding things back.

  3. thanks all
    My thanks to all who contributed here and who contacted me directly.

    The forum works!

  4. words fail, see sketch
    There is an example in the “Alex” cartoon in the Telegraph Business Section today (16/1/08) that neatly sums up one aspect of the phenomenon!


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