It seems to be a general principle of human interaction that power draws power to itself. One sees this on both small and large scales, from the level of a committee to the level of a nation or group of nations. I've been on both sides of the fence, that is, participated in the accretion and fought against it. It seems to me that accretion, like gravity, is a natural force in the affairs of man.
One of my experiences was serving on the college curriculum committee for about twenty-five years, many of which I was the chair. The committee didn't even exist when I began my thirty year stint at the University of Hawaii and our university president was a real academic. A few years later, in an attempt to become a "big time" university, the state hired a new president, an academic manager who vastly complicated the structure of his domain without actually accomplishing anything positive. One of the complexities he added was college curriculum committees that filtered program changes before they appeared at the university level committee and thence at his desk for his approval or disapproval. The engineering college created the mandated committee with no intention that it actually function as anything but a rubber stamp for the departmental curriculum committees. In fact, myself and others served in that capacity for many years. Our meetings were brief and perfunctory. However, as time went along and the curriculum grew more complex and the various departments expanded, curriculum changes grew more contentious. The college program committee meetings became the battleground upon which territoriality was played out. Having a friend on the committee became a requisite for professors trying to mark out new territory. Looking back, I don't see much that we accomplished that the departments themselves and the free market could not have accomplished. I don't know if optimal span theory takes this into account, but it is the nature of humans that when management creates a box on a chart, it will eventually fill with power.
Another of my experiences was in fighting such a power. Before World War II, a national organization (ECPD) was started to protect students and the public from fly-by-night schools claiming to offer engineering degrees. Accreditation by the Engineering Council for Professional Development carried with it some benefits for students wishing to take the certification exam in his or her state. Otherwise the organization had little impact among legitimate schools. (MIT and Stanford, for example, have never bothered to become accredited.) Student were generally oblivious to accreditation and large businesses did there own accreditation based upon experience with a school's graduates. However, after WWII engineering based experienced a large upturn and funds for the operation of the accrediting body experienced a similar surge. ECPD became more and more powerful. About twenty years ago, when two year schools of technology entered the scene, they augmented their domain by becoming ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology) despite the fact that there is no point of academic contact between engineering and engineering technology. The national organization became more and more dominant in stipulating the courses and methods to be used in every school in the nation. As a consequence, creativity and innovation in the teaching of engineering now resides in the few schools of repute that refuse to submit to the accreditation process. It was never intended that accreditation be anything more than a minimal guarantee of quality, but the principle of accretion of power inevitably produced a kind of dictatorship of fear. Withholding of accreditation by the "good old boys" and their young acolytes who run the organization is a powerful weapon. At a national meeting when I seized the floor to express my thoughts and pass out revolutionary literature, not a word of encouragement came from the audience. It was not into later, in private places like the rest room, that professors screwed up enough courage to say they agreed that ABET had gotten completely out of hand. Even well-intentioned members of the board may have realized that something was amiss. At the end of the three day meeting they announced that a committee would be formed to look into the problem of too much restraint on academic creativity. Unfortunately, nothing ever came from that as far as I know. Neither power nor authority are often relinquished voluntarily.
With respect -Joel