Saturday, January 03, 2015

word of the day: ineluctable

The word of the day is ineluctable:

incapable of being evaded; inescapable
Latin inēluctābilis, equivalent to in- in-3+ ēluctā () to force a way out or over, surmount ( ē- e-1+ luctārī to wrestle) + -bilis -ble (

"In 1940, a young sociologist named Robert K. Merton published an essay called 'Bureaucratic Structure and Personality,' in which he coined the phrase 'displacement of goals.'  Bureaucracy develops, Merton wrote, because large organizations require rules and procedures, lest they fall into the administrative and financial chaos and governance-by-whim of the kind that brought down William Durant.  But eventually the rules and procedures devised to help the organization achieve its goals take on a life of their own, and become 'an immediate value in the life-organization of the bureaucrat.'  In other words, when people orient their lives around the rules, the purpose of the organization gets lost...

"The last half-century of management wisdom can be understood as a long series of attempts to find a way around the ineluctable logic of displacement of goals."
 - Nicholas Lemann, "When G.M. was Google: The art of the corporate devotional", 1 December 2014 The New Yorker 

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