Factor I.—An official wants to multiply subordinates, not rivals; and

It would be rational, prior to the discovery of Parkinson's Law, to suppose that these changes in the scope of Empire would be reflected in the size of its central administration. But a glance at the figures shows that the staff totals represent automatic stages in an inevitable increase. And this increase, while related to that observed in other departments, has nothing to do with the size—or even the existence—of the Empire. What are the percentages of increase? We must ignore, for this purpose, the rapid increase in staff which accompanied the diminution of responsibility during World War II. We should note rather the peacetime rates of increase; over 5.24 per cent between 1935 and 1939, and 6.55 per cent between 1947 and 1954. This gives an average increase of 5.89 per cent each year, a percentage markedly similar to that already found in the Admiralty staff increase between 1914 and 1928.

Factor II.—Officials make work for each other.

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We must now examine these motive forces in turn.

Chemistry professor Stanton Ching’s current research is focused on developing new synthetic routes to porous nanostructured manganese oxides and studying their catalytic activity.

The Law of Multiplication of Subordinates

What does A do? He would have every excuse for signing the thing unread, for he has many other matters on his mind. Knowing now that he is to succeed W next year, he has to decide whether C or D should succeed to his own office. He had to agree to G going on leave, although not yet strictly entitled to it. He is worried whether H should not have gone instead, for reasons of health. He has looked pale recently—partly but not solely because of his domestic troubles. Then there is the business of F's special increment of salary for the period of the conference, and E's application for transfer to the Ministry of Pensions. A has heard that D is in love with a married typist and that G and F are no longer on speaking terms—no one seems to know why. So A might be tempted to sign C's draft and have done with it.

Everything you learn and do at Conn prepares you for our interconnected world.

Seymour, A. Interview with Wilfrid Thomas. BBC. 1974.

Where k is the number of staff seeking promotion through the appointment of subordinates; p represents the difference between the ages of appointment and retirement; m is the number of man-hours devoted to answering minutes within the department; and n is the number of effective units being administered. Then x will be the number of new staff required each year.

White, R. Inventing Australia. Sydney: Allen & Unwin, 1981.

Further and detailed statistical analysis of departmental staffs would be inappropriate in such an article as this. It is hoped, however, to reach a tentative conclusion regarding the time likely to elapse between a given official's first appointment and the later appointment of his two or more assistants. Dealing with the problem of pure staff accumulation, all the researches so far completed point to an average increase of about 5¾ per cent per year. This fact established, it now becomes possible to state Parkinson's Law in mathematical form, thus:

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The One Day of the Year is one of the most provocative plays ever staged in Australia, and was banned for fear of offending members of the Returned Services League. A panel of judges had chosen the play to be performed at the Adelaide Festival of Arts in 1960. But before rehearsals commenced the board of governors of the festival banned it, believing the content to be insensitive to returned servicemen. The decision to ban the play aroused considerable controversy and an amateur group defiantly staged it in a suburban hall in Adelaide several months after the festival, with some funding from the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust. It was a success and a Sydney production followed. The first professional production of The One Day of the Year opened on 26 April 1961 at the Palace Theatre in Sydney after bomb threats kept the cast out of the theatre for 24 hours.

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where y represents the total original staff. And this figure will invariably prove to be between 5.17 per cent and 6.56 per cent, irrespective of any variation in the amount of work (if any) to be done.

Seymour, A. The One Day of the Year. Sydney: Angus & Robertson, 1962.

Mathematicians will, of course, realise that to find the percentage increase they must multiply x by 100 and divide by the total of the previous year, thus: