A single juvenile wolf while in the pack conforms to pack rules and most of his actions are predictable. If a single juvenile wolf leaves the pack and goes out on his own, he may maraud, kill for reasons other than food and generally make a pest of himself.
Similarly, in small towns, there is little crime because people are known by most everyone they contact. It is hard to contemplate deviant behavior when you know your neighbors are watching. However, when a youth leaves home and ventures to the big city, he becomes anonymous and will often try out behaviors that he wouldn’t dare at home. In the big city it is possible to get lost in the crowd and shed responsibility for one’s actions.
It is much like that in business, government, education, life. The smaller the group, the more likely the members will adhere to a common set of rules. If you are responsible for the dessert at a neighborhood 4th of July potluck, everyone knows if you performed or not. In a Company picnic at the Headquarters location of G.E., your dessert will be one of 50 and if you blow it off and come without, almost no one will notice, let alone care.
My point? In general, larger organizations have a more difficult time with assigning responsibility for the actions of the group than do smaller ones. Example – on a baseball team of 9 players, you know who made the error that cost the game. Can anyone remember who at Coca-Cola decided to come out with “New Coke?” There are just too many people involved to point a finger at a single person and if you did, he would likely tell you it was a committee of 15 who actually made the decision.
Today we are faced with businesses, government agencies, schools, and other organizations that are taking actions that no individual or small group would make. Would any company of 50 people tell the HR person to be sure to hire at least 10 black applicants, 10 hispanic applicants and no Asian applicants? Of course not. Yet, that is what the admissions departments of huge Universities do every day.
As our Government agencies grow in size and complexity, we lose accountability. It becomes harder to measure results. It becomes easier to fail to live up to the public trust without consequences. In my view, this is just one more reason why it is essential that we dramatically shrink the size of our government.