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Bureaucracy: Advantages & Disadvantages In Today’s Public Organization

815 words - 4 pages

Max Weber, Henri Fayol and Luther Halsey Gulick all addressed issues, concerning how an overall organization should be structured, bureaucratic administration, while Frederick Taylor’s theory of scientific management concentrated on techniques for increasing production (Tomkins, 2005). This essay will focus on the disadvantages and the advantages, including the effective and efficient components, of bureaucracy in public management.
Sociologist Max Weber undertook the first study of bureaucracy in the early 1900s (Tomkins, 2005). Weber’s theory of bureaucracy holds that administrative rationality is achieved by dividing work into specialized administrative functions, assigning each ...view middle of the document...

Generally perceived as impersonal, arcane, and senseless - bureaucracies do have some advantages in public organizations (Mack, n.d.). A major benefit of a well-functioning bureaucracy is greater efficiency and standardized outputs because authority is centralized which allows decisions to be monitored for quality control (Johnson, n.d., Mack, n.d.). Without the structure provided by Weber’s bureaucratic administration for controlling and coordinating work activities, that ensures predictable results and impartial decisions, large public organizations would not be able to fulfill their duty to provide efficient and reliable services to the public (Tomkins, 2005).
A shortcoming of Weber’s model is that it focuses solely on structural elements, does not address important variables such as human behaviors, technology and process, and therefore, is not a comprehensive theory of organization (Tomkins, 2005). Managers that take Weber’s analysis too literally, that an organization must be highly centralized, have a clear hierarchy, emphasize accountability and control, and achieve a high degree of routinization, can be discouraged from considering administrative methods that do not conform to Weber’s model severely limiting the potential for innovation (Tomkins, 2005). In this bureaucratic environment, creativity and innovation are discouraged, causing job dissatisfaction and high turnover rates (Ingram, n.d.). Another issue is the ability of an organization to be proactive, and respond to changes or challenges due to the strict chain of command and definitive rules (Banton, 2012). Bureaucracies can be impersonal and lack the flexibility to make exceptions in policies to meet stakeholders needs (Mack, n.d.).
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