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Bureaucracies

Updated on April 17, 2016

Bureaucratic organizations are social units which are predominantly oriented to the attachment of specific goals. Bureaucracies is also an organization with a hierarchy of paid full time officials who formed a chain of command, concerned with the business of administration, with controlling, managing and co-coordinating a complex series units such as the family, friendship groups and the community, because they are set up to realize clearly defined goals.

Thus school are designed to transmit knowledge, hospitals to treat the sick, industrial firms to manufacture goods and services, while Government exercises political power in a state. The primary purpose of a Bureaucratic structure is to accomplish large scale administrative task with maximum efficiency.

Bureaucracies are sometimes inefficient because they become entangle in the red tape of complex procedures and regulations, but in other circumstances, they serve as a highly effective means of conducting large scale business. Bureaucracy is characterized principally by clear-cut division of labour and specialization of functions, hierarchy authority structure, systematized rules and regulations, impersonality and a secure and meritocratic career structure. In a bureaucracy, there is a clear-cut of division of labor in which the activities and duties of the organization are highly specialized.

Large scale tasks are broken down into small manageable units and specialists are appointed to manage them accordingly. In a car assembly line for instance, Mechanical Engineers, Electrical Engineers, structural Engineers, panel beaters, painters, upholstery experts are all involved in the performance of different aspects of the job, often with a supervisor over-seeing what goes on at every stages at a particular time.

In a bureaucracy, each office is under the supervision of another office. every official in the hierarchy is accountable to his supervisor for the behavior of his subordinates as well as for his own decisions and actions. The military chain of command in which a commander is responsible for all the officer and men of lower rank in his command is a good example. In civilian organizations, the line of communication between the various officials-Board of Directors, Managing Directors, Executive Directors, Managers, Superintendents, Division Heads, Foremen and workers are also carefully prescribed. The power and privileges of each position are clearly stated. Thus it is customary for a lower-level official to seek the advice and permission of his immediate boss before conducting business with a larger official.

Bureaucratic functions are governed by well established rules and regulations. There are directives, general orders, and standards designed to assure uniformity in the performance of every task. In manufacturing industries for instance, they provide operations manual for all their repair manuals exactly, each repair job should theoretically conform to a uniformly high standard. The ideal bureaucrat conducts the duties of his office in the spirit of formalistic impersonality. This is to ensure impartial and fair treatment of all clients. All officials and employees must remain detached and objective i their relations with their clients.

Bureaucracies are characterized by elaborate personnel policies designed to promote the fair, objective treatment of all employees. Bureaucracies establish policies on appointments, promotions, dismissals, retirements, insurance plans and various other benefits accruable to workers. These are to develop and sustain loyalty and high morale among employees of the organization. it is important to note that maintaining fairness completely on issues of promotions and benefits are often difficult. if promotions is based only on seniority, the young and capable member's of the organization may eventually grow discouraged. on the other hand, if promotion is based only on achievement, employees with years of faithful services feel that they are being neglected. The best solution to this problems, expert point, is the combined consideration of both seniority and achievement. The analyses of the principal characteristics of bureaucracies reveals a number of internal weakness. The most notable weakness being the flexibility or rigidity in situations requiring creative solutions. This results because bureaucrats, even when situations have change will stick to carrying out their duties as stipulated by the rules and regulations of their organization.

Thus organizational goals are displaced as obedience to the rules becomes a goal rather than a means to a goal.

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