Short Essay on Bureaucratic Theory of an Organisation

His concepts are introduced at this point because, although many of his ideas belong to the classical” school, they seem to bridge the gap between the traditional concepts of organisation and management and on modern ideas in more respects.

Weberian bureaucracy is based on mechanistic assumptions about human nature in the pre-1930’s tradition, whereas in other respects, his concepts match the modern scholar’s search for general theories and understanding and the idea of the ultimate predictability of organizational behaviour.

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In Weber’s view, the bureaucratic form was the most efficient type of organisation possible in modern society. Basically, he wanted to construct an ideal organisation that reflected rational human behaviour, this attitude obviously differs from the label ‘bureaucratic’ often used negatively to describe large-scale cumbersome governmental or business offices.

Speaking of the technical advantages of bureaucracy Weber said: “The decisive reason for the advance of bureaucratic organisation has always been its purely technical superiority over any form of organisation.

The fully developed bureaucratic mechanism compares with other organisations exactly as the machine with the non-mechanical modes of production precision, speed, un ambiguity, knowledge of the files, continuity, discretion, unity, strict subordination, reduction of friction and of material and personal cost these are raised to the optimum point in the strictly bureaucratic administration and especially in the monocratic form.”

Weber emphasized that the theory of bureaucracy was relevant to all forms of organisation. He stated that its use could increase efficiency in such organisations as business enterprises, governmental units, military operations and labour unions.

To develop the “ideal” bureaucracy, certain conditions or policies should be followed: (1) a division of labour based on functional specialization, (2) a well defined hierarchy of authority, (3) a system of rules covering the rights and duties of positional incumbents, (4) a system of procedures for dealing with work situations, (5) impersonality of interpersonal relations, and (6) promotion and selection for employment based on technical competence.

Weber’s contention was that man is unpredictable, often emotional, not necessarily rational, and that he possesses characteristics that tend to interfere with efficient organisational performance. In accordance with this philosophy, lie set forth the depersonalised form of organisation as an ideal that would minimize the effect of dysfunctional human behaviour.

The Weberian model has been criticised from a variety of standpoints. His theory has been called a machine theory and a closed system model over emphasising the formal rational aspects of bureaucracy while ignoring the whole range of socio-cultural environments.

Moreover, the structural features of bureaucracy might be suitable for routine and repetitive tasks but may not be suitable if the job involves innovation and creativity. Laski, very well said , “Bureaucracy is characterised by a possession for routine in administration, the sacrifice of flexibility to rule, delay in making of decisions and a refusal to embark upon experiments”.

R. K. Merton points out, “bureaucracy as an organisational form is characterised by rigidity, over emphasis on rules and regulations rather than on goals and objectives and marked by lack of public relations and class consciousness on the part of bureaucrats”. Other scientists like Presthus, have also opined that the Weberian Model is a product of an alien culture which is fairly inadequate for imposition in the developing societies.