What is Parkinson’s law in management?

  • A rule of thumb which states that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”.
  • It is used as a criticism against the inefficiencies of bureaucracies in large organisations.
  • Parkinson’s law refers to the tendency among people at work to finish their tasks only just in time for the deadline even though they are capable of completing it earlier. In such cases, an earlier deadline can push people to become more efficient.
  • Parkinson’s law is attributed to British naval historian Cyril Northcote Parkinson who wrote about it in a satirical article published in The Economist in 1955.
  • It was later reprinted in the 1958 book Parkinson’s Law or the Pursuit of Progress.


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