Bureaucratic control

Bureaucratic control
See also

Bureaucratic control is method of controlling used in management which heavily depends on strict documentation, reporting, monitoring, measuring of employee effectiveness. It results in developing organizational bureaucracy (group of people whose only job is to maintain order, gather information, prepare summaries of reports and formal planning on various levels of organization. Bureaucratic control requires developing of comprehensive system of rules and procedures to manage the actions and behaviour of people in organization. It often requires costly information systems and computer software to work effectively. Main advantage of this type of control is clear goals and responsibilities, main disadvantage is high cost and decrease in innovativeness and creativity.

Approach and techniques[edit]

Defined and regulated schemes of sanctions and rewards are important components of bureaucratic control as well. They are necessary to provide and protect conformity in organization. Other tools of bureaucratic control that create a framework of carrying out tasks for inferiors are the determination of standard costs and budgetary controls[1]. According to Max Weber [2] there are three elements that represent the most important elements of bureaucratic control. Those are:

  • Activities that need to be done in order to make organization function properly are subdivided as official duties.
  • The power to make decisions about actions that are necessary to complete those duties should be divided in a stable way that is fully determined by rules applying to means of coercion.
  • To regularly and stably accomplish those duties the methodical provision has to be made.

Other Max Weber's [3] statements characterizing bureaucratic management and control are:

  • The rules of organization's hierarchy and graded management create a strictly organized system of superiors and inferiors. In this system superordinate's offices have control over subordinates’ offices. This makes it possible to appeal a decision of members of lower offices to the government in completely coordinated way.
  • The administration of organization using bureaucratic control rely on the written documents-files that are saved in their original or draught form.
  • As a rule, bureaucratic control is based on formal commands so organization should separate any official activities from aspects of private life.



  1. Ferner 2000, pp.2
  2. Weber 1946, pp.196
  3. Weber 1946, pp.197

Author: Izabela Pyszczek