The bureaucracy (from the French bureau - the office and the Greek kratos - the authority denoting the authority of officials) is a management system in which the administrative apparatus is of decisive importance. This phenomenon arose with the appearance of the first forms of statehood, ie from antiquity, but the term came to use in France in the eighteenth century. The term also means a group of people dealing professionally and payably with the organization of offices and institutions and administration. A characteristic feature of the bureaucracy is the replacement of the authority of tradition and people with formalized principles.
Nowadays the term bureaucracy has a pejorative meaning, because it is often associated with bureaucratization. At present, it means inefficient and ineffective actions of the administration and offices, their sluggishness in dealing with issues or excessive formalization. There is excessive rationalization in the decision-making process, which is referred to as the negative power of bureaucracy. Due to the fact that the bureaucracy can not adapt to constant changes, this type of organization should not be used in small entities. In addition, the efficiency of overly bureaucratic systems is relatively low. Despite criticizing the bureaucracy of the organization, its use in large organizations using routine technologies brings clear benefits.
Currently, the term is used in the following meanings:
- bureaucratism - pathology of formal organization; overstepping of formalities in the activities of offices; deviations from the binding rules that exist in the functioning of the entire institution
- bureaucratization - power detached from social needs and imposing conflicting decisions with the interests of society; deviations from the rules in force in the behavior of people employed in the organization
- bureaucracy as a layer of administrative officers; the rules, norms, organization and assumptions of the functioning and existence of the institute are considered
Model of Weber bureaucracy:
An extensive definition of bureaucracy was formulated by the German sociologist Max Weber (1947). The organization is the more effective the closer it is to the ideal bureaucracy model. In contrast to today's significance, the Weberian bureaucracy was an alternative to widespread nepotism and abuse of power, a system of changing employees with average abilities in rational persons who serve their clients impartially and efficiently. An important feature of perfect bureaucracy is rationality, which results from designing to perform specific functions.
Three models of bureaucracy
The starting point for Weber in his considerations was the issue of power. Based on the above criterion, he distinguished three models of bureaucracy:
- legalnational (classic)
Features of perfect (classic) bureaucracy
- Hierarchicity - a bureaucratic organization is created on a hierarchy basis, i.e. an official is subordinate to the decisions of the superior
- Impersonality (as the basis for action) - an official can not act beyond his rights and obligations determined by legal norms that regulate their division
- Depersonalization - an official has a certain authority, which a citizen should submit to, does not result from his personal qualities but from the privileges granted to him, as this is his basic and permanent occupation
- Formal qualifications (basis for employment and promotion) - on the basis of this principle, recruitments for managerial positions are held, promotions and salaries are regulated by legal norms
- Specialization and division of labor - the action of officials is regulated by means of appropriate legal norms, there is a precise division of tasks and powers
- Effectiveness - guaranteed by a high level of specialization, professional qualifications of officials and depersonalization of their activities
- Meritocracy - dependence of career in bureaucracy on achievements
- Communication takes place in a written form
Sources of bureaucracy
- External to the organization, associated with such manifestations of social life as religion, army, legislation, education, etc.
- Within the organization, associated with such processes as organizing, planning, financing, etc.
- Related to the size of the institution
- Connected with the personality of the acting
- The character of cultural norms in force in a given society
- Education system,
- Political system
Dysfunction of bureaucracy
The following bureaucratic dysfunctions are distinguished (sometimes referred to as bureaucracy):
- Routine and lack of flexibility in the operation of employees
- Excessive conformism
- Difficulties in reacting to unusual situations that have not been included in the applicable regulations
- Maintaining the developed structures in an unchanged shape
- Dehumanization of interpersonal relations, the gap between officials and stakeholders
- Abuse of power by an official
- Conflicts between experts (based on knowledge) and officials (based on the organizational hierarchy)
- Stiff structure, problem with implementing innovations and responding to changes
- Movement of goals
- Compliance with regulations becomes more important than achieving the goals set by the organization
- The organization focuses on its own functioning, instead of providing services
- The organization starts looking for new goals because the ones to which it was established are implemented
- Professional psychosis - units as a result of routine activities begin to create prejudices and dislikes
- Formation of informal groups influencing the functioning of the organization (mainly in the field of gaining power and implementing specific interests)
- Parkinson's Law - performing tasks as late as possible
- Peter's rule - promotion to the level of lack of competence in the position
- Learned ineptitude - proven skills in the past cause an inappropriate reaction in changed conditions
- A bureaucratic vicious circle - a mechanism based on positive feedback; the management of the institution, deciding on reducing bureaucracy, increases it
- Fiss, O. M. (1983). The bureaucratization of the judiciary. The Yale Law Journal, 92(8), 1442-1468.
- Ritzer, G. (1975). Professionalization, bureaucratization and rationalization: The views of Max Weber. Social Forces, 53(4), 627-634.
- Eisenstadt, S. N. (1958). Bureaucracy and bureaucratization. Current Sociology, 7(2), 99-124.