In his otherwise spot-on post, The Collapse of Complex Business Models, Clay Shirky makes the confusing statement:
Bureaucracies temporarily reverse the Second Law of Thermodynamics. In a bureaucracy, it’s easier to make a process more complex than to make it simpler, and easier to create a new burden than kill an old one.
Now, I’m no physicist, but it seems pretty clear to me that bureaucracies absolutely obey the second law of thermodynamics.
“Process” isn’t anti-entropic at all, any more than gasoline-powered engines are anti-entropic. The process itself, the bureaucratic imperatives, are entropy and waste heat. Which isn’t to say that you can perform useful work without a certain amount of process, or that certain applications don’t require an enormous quantity of process. A good startup is an efficient engine, generating lots of results with a minimum of process. A good large organization is less efficient, but trades that efficiency for reliability and consistency—it’s a big rig, with a big diesel engine, or possibly an industrial motor of some sort.