Here's a scenario. The CEO of your company needs to do a big review presentation to shareholders/analysts/investors/holding company bigwigs. So they brief 5 of their direct reports asking for contributions to help put it together, your boss being one. Those 5 people are good at managing upwards. It's one of the things that has helped them to be successful and get where they are and they have every intention of protecting that. So they brief out 5 of their direct reports to compile information, you being one of them. You, not wanting to be compared unfavourably with your bosses' other direct reports, brief out 5 of your direct reports to do some solid desk research to make sure your boss is getting the best range and sources of information possible. Your peers do the same. Let's say each of those stages requires just two meetings between each of the individuals involved - perhaps to brief out specific requirements, and to look at the output. Let's say each stage requires five emails - perhaps to set up a briefing meeting, clarify the brief, answer the odd question, agree a time for looking at the output. That's:
This kind of scenario is played out daily in thousands of organisations around the world. Overburdensome hierarchy creates it's own overburdensome process. And it's paralysing.