Some Lumps are simply spineless, deathly afraid of making a decision. They’ve long since determined that the best policy is just to lay low and pass the buck. Some are jaded and cynical. They’ve been there and done that, and nothing much impresses them anymore. They don’t see any need to act decisively, or maybe they just don’t see the point: It wouldn’t do any good, anyway. Some, nearing retirement, are motivated purely by reluctance to lose their high salaries and accompanying pensions.
But some Lumps are much more calculating. Lacking genuine ability and creativity, they’ve determined that their surest and safest route to the top is simply to go along to get along–to spout the party line, support whatever the higher-ups are doing, and otherwise not do much of anything lest they risk doing the wrong thing.
In any form, Lumps are incredibly harmful to an organization. They’re responsible for most of the negative attributes that people (including students) rightly associate with bureaucracy: interminable waiting, “red tape,” buck passing, narrow and rigid interpretation of policy, stubborn intransigence.
They’re also a drain on group morale. Although perhaps not as actively vindictive as authoritarian power-mongers,most Lumps will throw their colleagues under the bus in a heartbeat in order to preserve or advance their own careers. It’s not that they don’t like you. They just don’t care about you.