A Special Theory of Administrative Relativity
A Special Theory of Administrative Relativity
R. Liang+ & J.M. Woithe*
It has become apparent to many people that there exists an
underlying constancy in the operation of administration. This theory
explores this principle and thus proposes a number of postulates on the
The Special Theory of Administrative Relativity is applicable in all
situations requiring organising by n persons where n>=3. The theory
becomes more accurate as n approaches infinity. Parameters which may modify
the application of the theory are:
Observation of numerous administrative administrations throughout the
world have lead to the formation of the following postulates concerning
their operation. We start with two basic definitions which seem to be
fundamental and consistent with all observed administrations, and continue
with a series of operational constraints which bound the functioning of
- whether the persons involved actually realise they are organising
something. Such a realisation has a negative perturbation effect on
the speed of related documentation as referenced in postulate 6
since it results in an unbounded increase in the mass of paperwork.
- whether the persons involved have a higher degree in management
(this has a negative effect similar in essence to that described in
- the involvement of higher bodies such as Government departments or
large multinational corporate organisations. (Such involvement
introduces a further negative correction to the speed. This
correction can easily rise several orders of magnitude above the
contributions from (a) and (b)).
- define the Redundant Staff Positions ratio (RSP) as the ratio of
duplicated to required staff positions within an administration.
- define "management" as "all persons and/or objects with any desire to
organise, reorganise or just rearrange (for no reason) items in the
workplace including other persons and/or objects". If present, management
and administration are mutually exclusive with respect to both goals and
personnel; if not, there exists a sub-branch of administration which
shares the same properties.
- the percentage completion of the organization of an event by
administration is always less than 50%, relative to itself.
- Upon discovering activities in the workplace which might be construed
(rightly or wrongly) by administration to make work more enjoyable
and/or bearable, said administration will remove said activities citing
reasons of inefficiency and/or frivolousness.
- if administration approaches 50% completion of any task, all processes
leading to completion spontaneously regress with a probability approaching
- if the regression does not occur, the required final outcome
spontaneously decays into something completely different with a
probability approaching unity.
- if the outcome decay does not occur, the administration will be replaced
or reorganized by management (if present) or itself, citing reasons of
incompetence. However, in all cases the RSP ratio is constrained to be
strictly greater than 2.
- the speed of progression of a given document through administration must
be less than the speed of the production of the associated meeting
agenda/minutes which it originated from. It can be shown that this speed
can never be reached or exceeded since a document necessarily increases
its mass as it approaches this speed due to further documents being added
to it to allow the increase in speed in the first place. The extra mass
acts to limit the velocity: the more paperwork there is, the more effort
is required to move it, and the more effort required results in a
quasi-proportional reduction in the potential velocity of passage through
administration in line with well-known and understood administrative
 Newspaper articles, tv segments, magazine commentaries, leaflets,
information sheets, community updates and informal communications -
numerous publications by members of the general public not connected with
government(s), bureaucracies or administration.
 Government transcripts, parliamentary Hansard, political speeches,
meeting minutes, off-the-cuff comments, administrative procedural outlines
- numerous publications by members of governments and/or bureaucracies
and/or administrations around the world.
 Unpublished accounts of encounters with administration experienced by
the authors and everyone else not connected with administration.
+ The medical school of the University of Auckland
* The dept of physics and mathematical physics of the University of
to Jonathan Woithe's home page.