The Iron Cage that Crushes: SMU Bureaucracy

Do bigger organizations inevitably turn out to be a bureaucratic mess?

I think definitely so. In my past 3 years in SMU, I have seen such an institutionalization of rules hitherto unseen and it leaves me with sad and strange disappointment and displeasure. After all, this is the school that was supposed to be different. I write this blogpost for the greater good – that SMU this piecemeal intention in trying to change the burgeoning institution will somehow have a butterfly effect.

One of the reasons why I chose SMU was because it marketed itself to be different. And I’m sure it was, for the first year. Yet slowly, I noticed (with much annoyance) over the increase in red tape.

My biggest bugbear: Endless forms and emails. Documents are being kept there for the sake of being kept there.

Case Study

I went to Office XXX to borrow a tripod and got stonewalled by the staff.

Me: “Are there any tripods for me to borrow?”

She: “No, I can only check if there are tripods available once you give me the form which must be 2-3 days in advance for processing time”

Me: “So are there any tripods available?”

She: “I can only check if I get the form”

Me: “So you don’t know how many tripods you have in your office?”

She: “I cannot tell you until I get the form”

Me: “What if I get the form now?”

She: “You need it to be sent 2-3 days in advance.”

Me: “Why?”

She: “For processing.”

The Resistance by Muse

The paranoia is in bloom, the PR
Transmissions will resume, they’ll try to
Push drugs, keep us all dumb down and hope that
We will never see the truth around, so come on

Another promise, another scene, another
Package not to keep us trapped in greed with all the
Green belts wrapped around our minds and endless
Red tape to keep the truth confined, so come on

They will not force us
And they will stop degrading us
And they will not control us
We will be victorious, so come on

Back to Case Study

So  I wanted to complain why were there so many forms and procedures. How do I do that? Write a form of course, then wait for it to get processed.

Other Examples of Red Tape

1) The exponential proliferation of forms for community service.

2) Scrapping of LTB service projects in favour of case studies for the incoming freshmen.

3) Implementation and review of KPIs for CCAs

This is a school…and schools shouldn’t be a cage.

Ok back to mugging.


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