Biologists sort creatures by kingdom (plant v. animal v. ?), phylum, class, order, family, genus, and species. Big bureaucracies have a similar structure. Begin with the executive branch of a national government. Within it are departments (aka agencies, ministries, ...) each devoted to a more-or-less coherent theme: War, State, Interior, Energy, Commerce, Justice, etc. A department is made of offices (or bureaus or centers), and that's typically where people begin to actually know each other — or at least where the bosses can vaguely recognize the majority of their employees. Within an office are groups (or divisions) generally of a few score people. Groups are divided into branches, and now (finally!) we're down to the level where real work gets done: a crew of a dozen or so people. Coincidence? — a branch is about the size of a hominid tribe of individuals, or a large family.

Sunday, May 21, 2000 at 17:08:09 (EDT) = 2000-05-21


(correlates: Mostly Sane, CellSpin, RobertNozick, ...)