There are many bodies that claim to have worthy aims, but if they achieved them they would put themselves out of business, so they avoid doing anything effective, or even do more harm than good. Common themes are the environment, health and various forms of equality.

Is there a word or simple phrase that describes such an organisation?

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    Welcome to EL&U. I think that 'self-destructive' might fit. – Nigel J Jan 8 '18 at 16:26
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    Quango [BrE] comes to mind, although its meaning is rather specific. Anyway, such organizations tend to be government departments. – Mick Jan 8 '18 at 16:30
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    Ad hoc is the best that I can think of, e.g. an ad hoc committee. – Mick Jan 8 '18 at 16:52
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    @Mick Quangos, like many things, tend to only make the news when they do something bad. There are more Quangos in the UK than you might think, and most of the "Quango Cash" goes on things which you might prefer to carry on existing, like the NHS express.co.uk/life-style/health/436350/… – Max Williams Jan 8 '18 at 16:59
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    You mean like companies that have planned obsolescence as a centerpiece of their business plan, because if they actually made the best widget they could their customers would only ever buy the one? – 1006a Jan 8 '18 at 17:19

I can't think of a generic term for the type of organisation, but the behaviour you describe is self-defeating or, if it's very obviously shooting itself in the feet, self-sabotaging.

  • Yes, those seem to be about the closest we can get in a word or two unless a new word is invented. – realh Jan 9 '18 at 14:10

There may be no catch-all term. If you are talking about a committee, then ad hoc would be entirely appropriate:

ad hoc adjective [ before noun ]

made or happening only for a particular purpose or need, not planned before it happens:

  • an ad hoc committee/meeting

Cambridge Dictionary

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