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Page:Hine (1912) Letters from an old railway official.djvu/186

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Letters From A Railway Official.

approval of requisitions by the general manager. The assistant general manager for supplies would normally put the final approval on requisitions. Large or exceptional items the general manager would approve. When differences of opinion developed among the interested assistant general managers as to the relative ultimate economy of different mechanical or structural devices, the general manager would be invoked to give a decision that really would be worth something, because made after considering different viewpoints. Under the old order of things, the superintendent of motive power or the chief engineer is tempted to seek the ear of the general manager on the latter’s best natured day to put over a requisition for some pet device. So sporadic is the comprehensive consideration of requisitions, so perfunctory is the usual approval, that the general manager frequently tells his purchasing agent not to take the former’s approval too seriously, and to hold up approved requisitions about which the latter is doubtful. This is another species of unconscious administrative cowardice which attempts to put on the subordinate the burden of responsibility for a departure from the normal. True organization

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