Thursday, 13 September 2012

Laws Made Not By Law-Makers

One knows that laws are made by law-makers, viz. Members of Legislatures all over the world. Here are some laws made not by the conventional law-makers but by people who have least to do with law-making.
Most of us have read the 3 Laws of Motion which bear the name of Newton, the most famous of which is his Third Law: Each action has an equal and opposite reaction, which is applicable not only in the domain of science but in our day-to-day life as well, in each human interaction. Like this there are a large number of laws in the field of management some of which are listed below:
Heller’s Law: The first myth of management is that it exists.
Parkinson’s Law: Work expands to fill the time available for doing it.
Parkinson’s Fifth Law: If there is a way to delay an important decision, the good bureaucracy will find it.
Peter’s Principle: In a hierarchical organization, every one rises to the level of his/her incompetence.

2.Bureacracy defends the status quo long past the time when the quo has lost its status.
Peter’s Placebo: An ounce of image is worth a pound of performance.
Murphy’s Laws: 1. If anything can go wrong, it will.
2. It is impossible to make anything foolproof because fools are ingenious.
Army’s Axiom: An order that can be misunderstood, will be misunderstood.
Oeser’s Law : There is a tendency for persons in the most powerful positions in an organization to spend their time serving on committees and signing letters.
Cornuelle’s Law: Authority tends to assign jobs to those least able to do them.
Dow’s Law: In a hierarchical organization, the higher the level, the greater the confusion.
Bunnel’s Law: Overdoing things is harmful in all cases even when it comes to efficiency.
Jay’s First Law of Leadership: Changing things is central to leadership and changing them before anyone does is creativeness.
Hull’s Warning: Never insult an alligator until you have crossed the river.
Jones’s Law: Friends may come and go but enemies accumulate.
Mile’s Law: Where you stand depends on where you sit.
Old and Kah’s Law: The efficiency of a committee-meeting is inversely proportional to the number of participants and the time spent on deliberations.
Peer’s Law: The solution to a problem changes the problem.
Unnamed Law: If it happens, it must be possible.
Agnes Allen’s Law: Almost anything is easier to get into than getting out of it.
Anderson’s Law: I have yet to see any problem, however complicated, which, when you looked at it the right way, did not become more complicated.
Berra’s Law: You can observe a lot just by watching.
Bolton’s Law of Ascending Budgets: Under current practices, both expenditure and revenues rise to meet each other, no matter which one may be in excess.
Boran’s Guidelines for Bureaucracy: 1. When in charge, ponder.
2. When in trouble, delegate.
3. When in doubt, mumble

Boyle’s Law: If not controlled, work will flow to the competent person until he submerges.
Bucy’s Law: Nothing is ever accomplished by a reasonable man.
Computer Maxim: To err is human but to really foul things up requires a computer.
Falkland’s Rule: When it not necessary to make a decision, it is necessary not to make a decision.
Finagle on Corrections: When an error has been detected and corrected, it will be found to have been correct in the first place.
Wolf’s Law: Those who don’t study the past will repeat its errors; those who do study it will find other ways to err.
Corcoran’s Law: All papers that you save, will never be needed until such time as they are disposed of, when they become essential.
Definition of ‘Junk’ : Things you don’t need till after they are thrown away.
Gresham’s Law: Bad money drives good money out of circulation.
Laws of Flattery:
- Imitation is the best and subtlest form of flattery.
- When you flatter your boss, she/he knows that you are exaggerating but he/she still likes it
Human Relations: Man cannot live without others; he cannot live with others.
Perception: We don’t see reality; we interpret what we see and call it relity.
Urgent and Important: People are easily tricked into thinking that ‘urgent’ equals ‘important’.
Ethics: A concept invented by the poor to rein in the rich.

Principle of Store-Management- PEEP: A Place for Everything and Everything in its Place

Praise: When your boss praises you, remember that praise and salary increase or   
               promotion are substitutes.

I keep cuttings from newspapers and preserve them in files marked subject-wise. While going through one such old file preserved in my personal ‘archive’, I came across a clipping from The Financial Express of 12.04.1989. Most of the above gems are from this clipping.
I had read about many of these Laws when I was heading my Bank’s Staff Training College at Patna from 1986 to 1992 and was preparing for taking sessions on Human Relations, Understanding Human Behavoiur and Organisational Behaviour,
Many of these ‘Laws’ are life’s lessons and expose the irrationality of human beings and show how the big bad world can many times be unfair, unjust, manipulative and irrational. One has to learn to live with this. However, one need not become a cynic but remain prepared. There are more good persons than bad and selfish ones.
I had come across Gresham’s Law while studying Money and Banking in Economics in my Degree Class in the College. I had read that once, Government of U K printed and released a series of new Currency Notes but it was found that most of the notes in circulation were still the old and soiled ones. Gresham, who was perhaps heading Bank of England at that time, was asked to find out the reason. He found that people who received new currency notes kept these with themselves and released the old notes with them. So mostly, old and soiled notes were in circulation. This finding came to be known as Gresham's Law.


  1. Excellent post Uncle!! I am a soft target of Murphy's law! Really! :/ Specially when it comes to keeping my open bruise (on the knee joint) away from any matter around me :D

    1. Murphy's Law does not spare anyone. Years ago, when I had just learned riding motor cycle, I used to try avoiding small rocks lying on the road but somehow the bike loved to go over those rocks shaking me up!!!

      Some other laws of life are:

      While debating, when the argument is weak, shout!

      Creativity lies in concealing your source!!

      It is easier to make money than to manage it!!!

    2. Talking of Money and Banking reminds me that my most-loved question which I wished to come in the exam at that time was: How do banks create money?

    3. Later, while working in my Bank, I created some money! :)))))

  2. Loved the "laws" well as "Many of these ‘Laws’ are life’s lessons and expose the irrationality of human beings and show how the big bad world can many times be unfair, unjust, manipulative and irrational. One has to learn to live with this. However, one need not become a cynic but remain prepared. There are more good persons than bad and selfish ones." - Very well written, Mausa! But are you sure there are more good persons than bad and selfish ones? If you do, I am delighted that more good people are coming my way in future. :)

    1. Definitely good persons outnumber bad ones. And every 'bad' person has a 'good' person hiding inside him/her. That is how human civilisation is surviving. We have only to draw out the 'good' person in everybody.

      When we feel that another person is acting 'selfish' we can try finding out ways of making the person to see how it is in his/her own self-interest to help us. If we succeed, well and good; if we don't, it's alright. :)))

  3. You missed out father-in-law, mother-in-law, sister-in-law, brother-in-law ...... I was just kidding! Otherwise a good write-up!. I am also a retired banker. Feel free to visit my blog:


  4. Good point to ponder over. Who coined the words 'father-in-law' etc.? How can the father of one's spouse be one's father in law, if we ignore the hyphens that is? None other than one's own father can be the father both in fact and law! The two hyphens joining the 3 words have done the magic.

    By the way, men have to show more importance to their in-laws than they give to their own fathers, mothers etc. for buying peace at home. Women are luckier in this area and usually get away by not reciprocating!

    1. I am bookmarking your blog post and shall follow it regularly. We are birds of the same feather.

    2. Dear Krishna Murthyji,
      I have been trying to visit your blog post but am not succeeding. Is the link correct?

  5. I am directly going to forward the first law mentioned to all my MBA friends. I am sure they might know it before but could be a good reminder :)

  6. All the practitioners of management love to believe in this myth!!!

  7. Sorry went through the other comments and it is

    I liked most of the laws, but liked Boran's guidelines the most.

    1. All these laws may appear rather blunt but they represent the reality!