Bureaucratic organization

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Bureaucratic organization as opposed to learning organization is strictly formalized type of organization. Every action of the employee has been defined and described, and often innovation and changes in the processes are blocked by the management (due to resistance to change). In these organizations there is no atmosphere conducive to innovation and development of staff, often such companies can not flexibly adapt to changing conditions of environment. Basic features of the intelligent (learning, innovative) opposed to the bureaucratic (operational) organization is shown in the table below.

Comparison of bureaucratic and intelligent organization

Aspect of the comparisons Bureaucratic organization Intelligent Organization
Type of work activities
  • Only a small fraction of workers are fully using their knowledge
  • Absurd repetition of steps
  • Individual or group Work
  • Performing various duties
  • Division of labor
  • Departmentization
  • Hierarchy
  • The strong position of managers - manager autocrat
  • Top-down coordination
  • No typical job positions - manager as coach and inspirer
  • Managerial roles: the sponsor, the generator of ideas, the leader
  • Differentiation
  • Coordination by team members
  • Provide information and communication
  • Planning and budgeting
  • Measurement of results
  • Departments linking
  • Orientation to the inside of the company - in order to maintain internal balance
  • Planning and resource sharing
  • Getting ideas
  • Combine ideas
  • Transfer of projects to manufacturing
  • Management of programs
  • Customer Orientation
Incentive System
  • Opportunities / autonomy
  • Promotion - recognition
  • Special compensation
  • Selection / Recruitment
  • Promotion / transfer
  • Training / Development
  • The use of individual abilities
  • Selection
  • Training / Development
  • Team capacity utilization

See also:


  • Blau, P. M. (1956). Bureaucracy in modern society.
  • Downs, A., & Rand Corporation. (1967). Inside bureaucracy (p. 264). Boston: Little, Brown.
  • Thompson, V. A. (1965). Bureaucracy and innovation. Administrative science quarterly, 1-20.
  • Weber, M. (1946). Bureaucracy. From Max Weber: essays in sociology, 196-244.
  • Wozniak K., Management information system as an instrument of strategic management in the company, PhD Thesis, Cracow University of Economics, Cracow 2005

Author: Krzysztof Wozniak