There are always exceptions, but for the most part organizations grow. It’s in the inherent nature of the entire transactional aspect of our economy. It starts with an entrepreneurial individual or group of individuals who start an organization of some sort to meet some sort of need, to solve a problem. It can be any sort of organization.. nonprofit, for profit, business, club, anything. If the solution is good then the organization grows.
The thing is that growth requires people. This is because no matter how much we drive productivity.. machines, automation, computers, we have to add people to operate and coordinate all those processes. At first everyone is on board with the mission.. to help the organization grow, to do more, to do better, it’s exciting and the opportunity to be apart of something bigger than the individual is one of the things that attracts people to the organization in the first place. But People are not perfect. We have lives, we have good days and bad days, we get distracted, we are only people after all. So as we add people into the organizational equation things fall through the cracks. Mistakes are made. Consequently people get in trouble for losses related to the mistakes.
There is a problem with getting in trouble.. you can lose your job, you can lose your opportunity for advancement, you can suffer from negative attitudes in your work circles. People understand these are not good or pleasant things.. so it’s best to not get in trouble. Over time the thought process changes.. and people behave differently and start acting in CYA* mode. This leads to less productivity because the goal of the people in the organization has gone from the mission to staying out of trouble.
At some point the mission is nearly unrecognizable to those outside the organization looking in. The organization is sour.
This is the point when the employee has to decide to stick around for the pay and benefits and live the life of CYA during work hours or move on to some other organization that seems exciting and is filling a great need in the world. Well at least until that organization starts adding lots of People.