Category : Management Samples
What is bureaucracy?
Bureaucracy is the administration of large organizations through the establishment of hierarchical or pyramidal relations between its members and the implementation of rigid and fixed rules and procedures to govern the operations of the organization (2000). The concept of bureaucracy originated from the root word bureau during the early eighteenth century. Bureau meant writing desk or workplace but after the French revolution, the term bureaucracy developed to describe office power or rule. However, the system that bureaucracy was trying to describe existed even prior to the development of the word itself. During the Song Dynasty around 960 AD, the empire was governed through centralized leadership with the delegation of administrative tasks to regional and town leaders accountable to the central leadership. ( 2003) Bureaucracy developed to apply to both public and private administrations. Almost all governments regardless of ideological and political foundations are managed through bureaucracy headed by either the president or prime minister as heads of state. Large domestic corporations as well as multi-national and trans-national corporations take control of their operations through bureaucracy by developing unified company goals and standards of practice implemented by the different levels of managers holding positions directly under the top management. Non-government organizations also apply certain aspects of bureaucracy in their operations.
What are the various aspects of bureaucracy?
Bureaucracy may refer to an administration process, administrative system or administrative structure. It is the administration of governments primarily through the establishment of bureaus or departments made up of non-elected officials and hierarchical authority and procedures governing the relationship of people within a bureau or department and the relationship between the various departments. This implies that bureaucracy pertains to the management of large and complex organizations. It is an administrative system marked by the inclination towards the application of a rigid and complex hierarchy of tasks and standardized procedures. ( 2000) Bureaucracy is also a system of administration characterized by specialization in terms of functions, objectives, position qualifications, fixed rules, hierarchy of authority, and delegated power. These characteristics exist in large organizations such as government administrative agencies and the armed forces, corporations, courts, schools and hospitals. (1998) Bureaucracy is an administrative structure existing in both public and private organizations recognized through hierarchical authority relations and pre-established spheres of competence. Ideally, the objective for organizing structures into bureaucracies is the achievement rational action, efficient service and professionalism. As an administrative structure, a bureaucracy functions through the hierarchical organization of people resulting to the delegation of tasks to individuals and departments with the entire structure bonded together by a central management. (2003)
What are its strengths and limitations?
The strengths and limitations of bureaucracy is rooted to the rise of opposing theories on bureaucracy persisting today leading to the evolution of the concept into different meanings. The most influential proponent and opponent of bureaucracy are Max Weber and Karl Marx respectively. The theories of these political thinkers influenced the development of various opposing opinions on bureaucracy.
Strengths of Bureaucracy