Again via Phil B, who appears to be angling for a coveted Research Assistant position, is this link to a manual written by the US office of strategic services in 1944 advising people how to bring occupied Europe to a grinding halt. Phil B says:
It seems to have been discovered by the HR and Managerial types as a template for good management practices, not as a way of destroying an organisation.
Is he right? Have a look at Section 11 which deals with the “General Interference with Organizations and Production” and judge for yourselves:
(a) Organizations and Conferences (1) Insist on doing everything through “channels.” Never permit short-cuts to be taken in order to expedite decisions.
(2) Make “speeches.” Talk as frequently as possible and at great length. Illustrate your “points” by long anecdotes and accounts of personal experiences. Never hesitate to make a few appropriate “patriotic” comments.
(3) When possible, refer all matters to committees, for “further study and consideration.” Attempt to make the committees as large as possible — never less than five.
(4) Bring up irrelevant issues as frequently as possible.
(5) Haggle over precise wordings of communications, minutes, resolutions.
(6) Refer back to matters decided upon at the last meeting and attempt to re-open the question of the advisability of that decision.
(7) Advocate “caution.” Be “reasonable” and urge your fellow-conferees to be “reasonable” and avoid haste which might result in embarrassments or difficulties later on.
(8) Be worried about the propriety of any decision — raise the question of whether such action as is contemplated lies within the jurisdiction of the group or whether it might conflict with the policy of some higher echelon.
At this point my jaw is on the floor at how well this describes major oil companies. Numbers 3, 5, 6, 7, and 8 are hard-wired into temployees and management within weeks of joining.
(10) To lower morale and with it, production, be pleasant to inefficient workers; give them undeserved promotions. Discriminate against efficient workers; complain unjustly about their work.
Which neatly describes career progression in a modern organisation.
(11) Hold conferences when there is more critical work to be done.
A practice perfected by governments everywhere. Climate change jamborees, anyone?
(12) Multiply paper work in plausible ways.
(13) Multiply the procedures and clearances involved in issuing instructions, pay checks, and so on. See that three people have to approve everything where one would do.
(14) Apply all regulations to the last letter.
Any budding saboteur would have his work cut out finding departments of a modern government where this behaviour was not already obligatory.
(1) Work slowly. Think out ways to increase the number of movements necessary on your job: use a light hammer instead of a heavy one, try to make a small wrench do when a big one is necessary, use little force where considerable force is needed, and so on.
(2) Contrive as many interruptions to your work as you can: when changing the material on which you are working, as you would on a lathe or punch, take needless time to do it. If you are cutting, shaping or doing other measured work, measure dimensions twice as often as you need to. When you go to the lavatory, spend a longer time there than is necessary.
Forget tools so that you will have to go back after them.
Are they describing sabotage techniques, or the local council?
(8) If possible, join or help organize a group for presenting employee problems to the management. See that the procedures adopted are as inconvenient as possible for the management, involving the presence of a large number of employees at each presentation, entailing more than one meeting for each grievance, bringing up problems which are largely imaginary, and so on.
Deployment of these techniques was so successful in occupied France they forgot to abandon them when the war ended.
(b) Report imaginary spies or danger to the Gestapo or police.
Such as Nazi pugs?
(c) Act stupid.
(d) Be as irritable and quarrelsome as possible without getting yourself into trouble.
To be fair, I do the first half of this. I’m not so good at the second part, though.
(i) Cry and sob hysterically at every occasion, especially when confronted by government clerks.
…and demand safe spaces.
So who’s responsible for handing this to governments and organisations and telling them it represents best practices? If it was the Soviets, I’m going to credit them with winning the Cold War hands down.