The true weight of bureaucracy’s heavy hand is being felt more keenly in organizations worldwide since the COVID-19 crisis and the rapid dispersal of millions of workers to remote locations. Annoying bureaucratic processes, ham-handed spyware deployments and erratic Brownian-motion Zoom meetings are compromising worker engagement in myriad ways. The scientific community has no special immunity from these effects, which embed themselves into its figurative cell structure.
Matthew Akamatsu and Kennan Salinero are research scientists in the San Francisco Bay Area who are thinking deeply about the need to free science from the heavy hand of bureaucracy. They are brainstorming on multiple fronts about ways to adapt the theories and practices of organizational self-management to thwart advancing bureaucratic metastasis. Future experiments might address challenges that include erratic funding sources, controlling lab heads, disconnected silos, lack of accountability and transparency, idea hoarding, skewed incentives, and many more.