Behavior: The Proof of Parkinson

In 1955, British Historian C. Northcote Parkinson puckishly formulated the basic law of bureaucracy that bears his name: work expands to fit the time at hand for doing it. Parkinson himself regarded his "law" as satire; inevitably, several American psychologists have decided to take it seriously. What is more, they have not only proved, at least to their own satisfaction, that the theory is true, but have extended it.

One of those investigators is Social Psychologist Elliot Aronson of the University of Texas, who became interested in the law after suffering through a Parkinsonian...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!