Analysis of “Bureaucracy” by Max Weber
Prior to reading Max Weber’s “Bureaucracy” and doing some further research on it, I was part of probably a large number of people that cringe when they hear the word bureaucracy. We all have some sort of horror story associated with dealing with some type of government or public agency. It most likely entails excessive waiting, endless paper trailing, a slow worker behind a desk, and lack-of-common sense rules. However, after reading Weber’s writing, I was able to gain further understanding of his perspective and reasoning of his work by recognizing what was happening in the times prior and during his writing. After analyzing the readings, I made a list of some of the characteristics of a bureaucracy. In this paper I will explain what I believe are the positive and negative aspects of the following characteristics: Hierarchy, Rules and Regulations, Task Specialization, Formal Selection and Impersonal Relationships.
A hierarchical structure allows management to have control and responsibility of their own departments. It also creates clear lines of communication. Subordinates know where to go to obtain information, report information and receive directives. In a hierarchical structure, communication passed down or going up should pass through each position.
A lack of responsibility and accountability increases of the top layer officials by shifting the blame to lower levels when encountered with mistakes or failures, or even denying, ignoring or covering them up. That then leads to internal communication to employees being distorted to reflect what the organization would like to be, instead of what really is going on. The main disadvantage I believe is that so many layers and approvals creates a slow-paced decision-making mechanism.
2. Rules and Regulations
Prior to the industrial revolution, there was no consistency and organization. Rules and regulations ensures uniformity and coordination of efforts through a consistency in employee behavior. They provide stability and predictability of the outcomes, therefore creating high efficiency and consistency of work.
Rules and regulations can create too much red tape and paper work. The excessive reliance on rules and regulations discourages initiative and creativity of the employees. It also causes people to resist to any type of change or introduction of new techniques of operations.
3. Task Specialization
Dividing an organization into departments or units based on their specialization assists employees in becoming experts in their jobs. It clearly defines duties and responsibilities of each job, therefore employees know exactly what is expected of them. This can also allow them to achieve high efficiency by enabling them to focus on their specific tasks and issues.
Having employees solely focus on their specific tasks can create goal displacement in that departments develop their own agendas and...