Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Lawyers' Contribution to Organizational Behavior

AdamsmithMy good friend Bruce MacEwen of Adam Smith Esq. recently ran across a training manual providing instructions on proper behavior within organizations. Bruce thought that some of the advice appeared to be very similar to how law firms make decisions.  Likewise, when I read it, I thought it described some of the natural propensities of law professors.  Is it possible that law partners and law faculty provide the model behavior for all other organizations?

Hold on.  The book is serious. And so is the advice.  Read the "how to" advice below, which is quoted verbatim from the original source. Then click on the hyperlink where Bruce shares the author and title. 

(a) Organizations and Conferences

(1) Insist on doing everything through “channels.” Never permit short-cuts to be taken in order to expedite decisions. 

(2) Make "speeches." Talk as frequently as possible and at great length. Illustrate your "points" by long anecdotes and accounts of personal experiences. Never hesitate to make a few appropriate [loyal] comments.

(3) When possible, refer all matters to committees, for “further study and consideration.” Attempt to make the committees as large as possible – never less than five.

(4) Bring up irrelevant issues as frequently as possible.

(5) Haggle over precise wordings of communications, minutes, resolutions.

(6) Refer back to matters decided upon at the last meeting and attempt to re-open the question of the advisability of that decision.

(7) Advocate “caution.” Be “reasonable” and urge your fellow-conferees to be “reasonable” and avoid haste which might result in embarrassments or difficulties later on.

(8) Be worried about the propriety of any decision – raise the question of whether such action as is contemplated lies within the jurisdiction of the group or whether it might conflict with the policy of some higher echelon.

The above is for the rank and file.  Here is some of the advice given to middle management:

(b) Managers and Supervisors

(2) ... . Ask endless questions or engage in long correspondence about instructions. Quibble over them when you can.

(7) Insist on perfect work in relatively unimportant products.

(11) Hold conferences when there is more critical work to be done.

And the source?  See here.

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