Bureaucracy essay

2608 Words11 Pages
1. Introduction

A bureaucracy is a large organization that is designed to achieve a common goal through a hierarchical organization. The classic perspective on bureaucracy was proposed by German sociologist, Max Weber at the beginning of 20th century. Weber developed a theory of authority structures and described organizational activity based on authority relations. He described an ideal type of organization that he called a "bureaucracy".

The characteristics of Weber's bureaucracy

* Division of labor - Each person's job is broken down into simple, routine and well defined tasks.

* Well-defined authority hierarchy - A multilevel formal structure, with a hierarchy of positions or offices, ensures that each lower office is under the
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3.3 Employee alienation

Members perceive the impersonality of the organization as creating distance between them and their work. It is frequently difficult to feel committed to the organization. High specialization further reinforces one's feeling of being irrelevant - routine activities can be easily learned by others, making employees feel interchangeable and powerless.

3.4 Concentration of power

The concentration of power is a fact that bureaucracy generates an enormous degree of power in the hands of a very few. If you perceive this an undesirable or counter to the values of a democratic society, as some do, you will find this attribute a negative consequence of the bureaucratic form.

3.5 Non-member frustration

Another negative consequence relates to those outside the organization who must deal with the bureaucracy. Members are remunerated for their work in bureaucracies.

4 Five basic elements of an organization

According to Henry Mintzberg, an organization's structure is largely determined by the variety one finds in its environment. For Mintzberg, environmental variety is determined by both environmental complexity and the pace of change. Mintzberg defines five basic organizational subunits.

source: Henry Mintzberg, Structure in Five :Designing Effective Organization, 1983,p.262. Reprinted by permission of Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs,NJ.

Subunit Example positions from a manufacturing firm.

Strategic Apex Board of
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