Upper bosses like underlings they can replace. They are more afraid of hot shots and rock stars than they are of incompetents.
As a consequence, they assemble a large tiered leadership structure which by making rigid categories for job roles, ensures everyone has some time when they are not working on anything important.
So people try to make themselves look important, as a way of retaining their jobs, being less bored, and feeling good about their lives and their roles, income and status.
They create fake work, or busywork, that fills the time but achieves nothing toward the end goal, which is either ROI or a great product, depending on whether you're more corporate or open source in mentality.
* Conference calls.
* Meetings where people report status in round-robin fashion.
* Internal emails.
* Client contact.
* Client surveys.
* Time sheets.
* Team-building exercises.
* All-hands meetings.
* Coffee area chatter.
If you filter out all this junk, there's only a few hours every day where real work needs to be done, and then we can go home and maybe enjoy the great outdoors.
(Inspired by Management Tyrants and Management Realists.)