Short Essay on the Demerits of Bureaucracy

1. Bureaucracy does not adequately flow for personal growth and development of mature personalities.

2. It develops conformity and “group-think”.

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3. It does not take into account the “informal organisation” and the emergent and unanticipated problems.

4. Its systems of control and authority are hopelessly outdated.

5. It has no adequate juridical process.

6. It does not possess adequate means for resolving difference and conflicts between ranks, and most particularly, between functional groups.

7. Communication (and innovative ideas) are thwarted or distorted due to hierarchical divisions.

8. The full human resources of bureaucracy are not being utilized due to mistrust, fear of reprisals, etc.

9. It cannot assimilate the influx of new technology or scientists entering the organisation.

10. It modifies personality structure so that people become and reflect the dull, gray, conditioned “organisational man”.

The concept of bureaucracy has been criticized as being “the product of a specific historical, social and political milieu”. To overcome the shortcomings of the bureaucratic model, Riggs introduced his ecological model of public administration he observes that Weber’s ideal type construct of bureaucracy assumes a relatively autonomous administrative system and
thus, is not particularly relevant to the study of developing societies.

In developing countries, the administrative structures do not enjoy sufficient autonomy from other social structures whereas in developed societies they are comparatively more autonomous.

Further, in” developing countries the administrative structures become multifunctional and are likely to perform a variety of “extra-administrative functions” besides the strictly “administrative”.

In the fluid environments of transitional developing societies it is difficult to study the administrative sub-systems on the basis of ideal type constructs of Weber. Riggs thus points out the need for developing new conceptual constructs to study such societies which have a mixture of the primitive and the modern.

The bureaucratic theory of organisation has served a useful purpose in history by helping to develop professionalism in administration, by incorporation rationalist ethics and standards of conduct and business.

It helped to evolve a modernist administrative culture from the earlier feudal remnants of a corrupt, authoritarian and unresponsive administrative ethos based on the spoils and patronage system.

It, therefore, was a progressive and useful model of organisation at one time. Much of the criticisms of the bureaucratic model generally emerge from Weber’s ideal type construct. It is necessary to understand that Weber wanted to construct an “ideal type” or a “pure” model of bureaucracy which obviously cannot be approximated to reality.

Weber was not a champion of the bureaucratic order; in fact he was more than sufficiently aware of the evils of “bureaucratization”. He had merely stated that compared to the then prevailing administrative forms, bureaucracy was more capable of operating with greater efficiency arid rationality.