Parkinson's law of triviality

In the third chapter, "High Finance, or the Point of Vanishing Interest", Parkinson writes about a finance committee meeting with a three-item agenda.

The first is the signing of a £10 [4] million contract to build a reactor, the second a proposal to build a £350 bicycle shed for the clerical staff, and the third proposes £21 a year to supply refreshments for the Joint Welfare Committee. The £10 million number is too big and too technical, and it passes in two minutes and a half.

The bicycle shed is a subject understood by the board, and the amount within their life experience, so committee member Mr. Softleigh says that an aluminium roof is too expensive and they should use asbestos. Mr. Holdfast wants galvanized iron. Mr. Daring questions the need for the shed at all. Mr. Holdfast disagrees.

Parkinson then writes: "The debate is fairly launched. A sum of £350 is well within everybody's comprehension. Everyone can visualize a bicycle shed. Discussion goes on, therefore, for forty-five minutes, with the possible result of saving some £50. Members at length sit back with a feeling of accomplishment."

Parkinson then described the third agenda item, writing: "There may be members of the committee who might fail to distinguish between asbestos and galvanized iron, but every man there knows about coffee – what it is, how it should be made, where it should be bought – and whether indeed it should be bought at all. This item on the agenda will occupy the members for an hour and a quarter, and they will end by asking the Secretary to procure further information, leaving the matter to be decided at the next meeting."[5]


Summary provided from Wikipedia until a direct quote can be found. Concept is that the more trivial an issue, the more debate weighed on it because everyone understands the issue enough to have an opinion.

Folksonomies: todo debate triviality management

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/food and drink/beverages/non alcoholic beverages/coffee and tea (0.564339)

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Iron (0.915347): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
C. Northcote Parkinson (0.881100): dbpedia | freebase | yago
Parkinson's Law of Triviality (0.746067): dbpedia | freebase
Galvanization (0.713242): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Adages (0.677923): dbpedia
Knowledge (0.622241): dbpedia | freebase
Zinc (0.601817): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc

 Parkinson's Law, and Other Studies in Administration
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Parkinson, Cyril Northcote (1962), Parkinson's Law, and Other Studies in Administration, Retrieved on 2013-07-15
  • Source Material []
  • Folksonomies: humor


    15 JUL 2013

     Triviality Leads to Conflict

    Parkinson's law of triviality > Example/Illustration > Kissenger Describes Sayre's law
    The simpler the issue, the more debate. Academia is trivial, so the politics are harsher.