Jeffery K. Guiler
Robert Morris College
A maxim that evolved from a theory developed by Rufus E. Miles when he managed a branch of the Federal Bureau of the Budget responsible for labor and welfare in the late 1940s. Miles's Law states, "Where you stand depends on where you sit." The law theorizes that there is a direct correlation between the position an individual takes on a particular issue and the title or position that individual holds in the organization.
Although Miles himself admitted the "concept was as old as Plato," the "phraseology" evolved after a sequence of events that took place while Miles was supervising a group of middle-level federal employees at the Bureau of the Budget. One of Miles's employees, a budget examiner, was offered a position in a federal agency over which Miles's group had the power of budgetary review. The subordinate explained to Miles that he was concerned about working at a new agency that he did not perceive as very efficient. The subordinate also had been critical of this particular agency in his capacity as an examiner. The job, however, was a grade higher than the position of examiner the subordinate currently held and the income increase based on the job's higher grade was attractive to the employee. The employee informed Miles that he would like to remain in his current position as an examiner but with the increased salary of the position he had been offered at the other agency. Miles, while expressing appreciation for the employee's loyalty, refused to increase the individ