I work for a semi government job which is pretty Bureaucratic in nature! I am middle management! the worse ever job! The middle managers and first-line supervisors rather differently. These are people “imprisoned in hierarchical bureaucracies”. They are in a squeeze between the real requirements of the work and the inappropriate organizational arrangements to achieve those requirements.
Its painfully slow, incompetent and highly political struggle. as a freedom-oriented individual, i have certain attitudes and ways of looking at the world that affect how i interact with other individuals in the organization that i work in. #problem there….
|Model||Important Trait||Problematic Behavior|
|Monopolistic Model||Lack of competition||Inefficiency|
The term bureaucracy literally means “rule by desks or offices,” a definition that highlights the often impersonal character of bureaucracies.
The classic model of bureaucracy, which would deliberately regulate every activity, involves the five elements common to all bureaucracies:
- Division of labor and specialization. All people have specific statuses and specific tasks.
- Hierarchy of authority. In this command chain, lower offices are under the command of higher offices.
- Written rules and regulations.
- Employment based on technical qualifications. Employees are hired by virtue of specific characteristics, they are evaluated on particular performance standards, and merit promotions are written out in personnel policy.
- Impersonality. People interact on formal, not personal criteria. Weber said modern management is based upon a system of written documents (“the files”). Therefore, in bureaucracy, people are expendable but the files are not.
The acquisitive model can be distinguished by the following characteristics:
- Expansion: Leaders of bureaucracies always seek to expand the size and budget of their agency.
- Turf wars: Bureaucrats defend their responsibilities, resources, and jurisdiction from potential competitors. Even though government bureaucracies do not work for profit, agency heads still jockey for power and try to outdo one another.
What Do Bureaucrats Do?
- Uniformity and predictability;
- Control through automation.
Government bureaucrats perform a wide variety of tasks. We often think of bureaucrats as paper-pushing desk clerks, but bureaucrats fight fires, teach, and monitor how federal candidates raise money, among other activities.
The job of a bureaucrat is to implement government policy, to take the laws and decisions made by elected officials and put them into practice. Some bureaucrats implement policy by writing rules and regulations, whereas others administer policies directly to people (such as distributing small business loans or treating patients at a veterans’ hospital). The task of running the government, and providing services through policy implementation, is called public administration.
One useful approach to understanding what bureaucrats do is to examine the actions of different governmental agencies. The following table summarizes the government’s major functions and provides examples of agencies that perform those tasks.
Weber was not fond of bureaucratic organizations but he considered them to be improvements over earlier kinds of management. According to your textbook, the following are some of the problems with bureaucracy:
- Bureaucratic ritualism – workers become more concerned with following procedure than getting the job done accurately. An example of this phenomenon is the employee with a “rules are rules” attitude who is very rigidly rule-bound and unwilling to try creative solutions to problems.
- Bureaucratic inertia – bureaucratic organizations tend to perpetuate themselves, and may lose site of organizational goals. According to Parkinson’s Law, work expands; even if there is no work to do employees will find busywork. Busywork creates extra work and eventually the work day is full of non-productive tasks.
- Race, class, and gender inequalities – Women and minorities still encounter the “glass ceiling.” They are promoted to only certain areas. Barriers exist that keep them from breaking through to upper-upper management positions. And although there are laws against discrimination, certain classes of people are more apt to be hired and or promoted than others.
- The iron law of oligarchy – a small clique of people tend to rule an organization for their benefit.
- The Peter Principle – competent bureaucrats, according to this Principle, are rewarded with many promotions but finally they reach a level beyond their ability. Demotion is rare, so an organization eventually becomes full of incompetents.