Nobody took it

Nobody took it. With corporations it is always nobody. The big boss calls in the sub-boss, the sub-boss calls in his lieutenant, the lieutenant speaks to the chef of corporate security who speaks to the sub-chef who speaks to his friends who speaks to their friends. And so it is done. Not by the boss or the sub-boss or the lieutenant or the sub-chef. Not by the corporation. Not by anybody at all, actually. But still it is done. There are no papers, no cheques, no contracts. Nobody knows anything. Nobody was there. But it is done.

The Constant Gardener (p 320 in my version) by John Le Carre

Effekten av insentiv

One day Deng Xiaoping decided to take one of his grandsons to visit Mao Tse-tung.

«Call me Granduncle,» Mao offered warmly.

«Oh, I certainly couldn’t do that, Chairman Mao,» the awe-struck child replied.

«Why don’t you give him an apple?» suggested Deng.

No sooner had Mao done so than the boy took a healthy bite out of it, then happily chirped, «Oh, thank you, Granduncle.»

«You see, «said Deng, «what incentives can achieve.»

—A story told around Peking

From Time Magazine, 30.04.1984. Quoted by: Eisenhardt, K. M. 1989. “Agency Theory: An Assessment and Review.” The Academy of Management Review 14 (1): 57–74.