This posting officially empathises with Pootergeek about the incompetence of academic bureacracies.
What utter wankers they are. With very few exceptions.
I don't know if this will cheer PG up, but it could be worse for him. He could take his sanity into his own hands by joining me in my job as a salesman, selling to the public sector and voluntary sectors and suchlike.
If he did, he'd see the inability of these sectors to do anything with a fraction of the competence that they demand from their suppliers. And when you look at the way the public / voluntary sectors outsource their work, its always done with the maxim from Parkinson's Law in mind:
"An official wants to multiply subordinates, not rivals"
Apropos of this, here's another contribution to the 'Best Societies in the World' series that this blog is perservering with:
The best societies in the world have a high safety net. It reduces the defensiveness of bureaucracies. (I know the linked-to article appeared a few weeks ago. I missed it at the time - sorry).
I know I bang on about how the root of most of our problems is a lack of respect for representative democracy. But the question of how bureaucracies of all kinds can be motivated to do a decent job runs a close second.