Bureaucracy

Bureaucracy

Bureaucracy can be defined as the organizational structures, protocols and set of procedures that are used while managing certain activities within a given organization. It deals with political science and sociology in that it refers to how legal rules are enforced and executed within administrations and also how these rules are organized socially. Normally, it is represented by special a standardized procedure that helps by guiding members through executing processes within that body. However in bureaucracy their exists division of powers, where hierarchy of ranks is usually focused on in order to have a lasting relationship that will help in anticipating the organizational needs and thus improve its efficiency (Murray, 1993). This paper will generally discuss the relationship of bureaucracy and public relation whereby, in bureaucracy there is no creation of policies but what exist are enacting laws, regulations and policies that originates from the leadership that guides bureaucracy in implanting them. More so, in real life, the execution and interpretation of policies always leads to something that will create informal influence. In bureaucracy, leadership is the key to creation of executive government and the board of directors (Mae, 1998). Leadership is also responsible in the aspect that concerns shareholders, beneficiary members and the electorate commission. However in practice, bureaucracy is said to be the situation where an individual interfaces with any organization for example the government rather than dealing directly with the leadership.

In past years, bureaucracy has taken control to the emergence of industrial revolution, this issue has been well told by authors David Osborne and Ted Gaebler that “"It is hard to imagine today, but a hundred years ago bureaucracy meant something positive. It connoted a rational, efficient method of organization – something to take the place of the arbitrary exercise of power by authoritarian regimes (Huber & Shipan, 2002). Bureaucracy brought the same logic to government work that the assembly line brought to the factory. With the hierarchical authority and functional a specialization, they made possible the efficient undertaking of large complex tasks.” Nevertheless, some authors such as Marxists have stated bureaucracy as “the issue that rarely creates new wealth by itself, but rather controls, co-ordinates and governs the production, distribution and consumption of wealth. The bureaucracy as a social stratum derives its income from the appropriation of part of the social surplus product of human labor. Wealth is appropriated by the bureaucracy by law through fees, taxes, levies, tributes, licensing”. In his context Marx's theory state that “Bureaucracy is therefore always a cost to society, but this cost may be accepted insofar as it makes social order possible, and maintains it by enforcing the rule of law. Nevertheless there are constant conflicts about this cost, because it has the big effect on the distribution of incomes; all producers will try to get the maximum return from what they produce, and minimize administrative costs. Typically, in epochs of strong economic growth, bureaucracies proliferate; when economic growth declines, a fight breaks out to cut back bureaucratic costs” (Fry, 1989).

The history of bureaucracy within the U.S stands by important sociological laws that are termed as “Iron Law of Oligarchy”. This states that every organization that exists stands relatively through small elite. Bureaucracy is simply not based in Washington since it is one central mass of about 1.9million civil servants. More so, it is spread all through the entire USA for the reason that it exists in every state whereby each existing state has its own management and bureaucracy. This means that each state has its own system of ruling and how to manage the situations that can cause discomfort among the members of the state. There are three principal functions of the bureaucracy; executing laws, these are passed bills from the legislative body and signed by the president (Ernest, 1992). By this, the president has the power to enforce and carry out responsibilities throughout the regime. In these responsibilities there is the tax collection, inspections of planes and also security maintenance. Through all those errands, work have to be done and every arrangement to be maintained intelligently. Creating rules is also another purpose of bureaucracy; this is whereby rules are established by the wide set of guidelines of policy. The bureaucrats are the ones who are required to set up and write the rules required in deciding how laws are executed. Adjudication is functioned as a prime of bureaucracy, whereby it creates adjudication of created rules and laws. For example, if laws are made concerning over speeding of motto vehicles the civil service establishes which kind of roads to be used and the way of tackling the problem. 

However there are a few fundamental controversial that are based upon the panorama of the U.S administration that is governed and built upon special principles although functioning as neutral bureaucracy.

According to Kelly (1998) “an inclusive democratic polity is one that provides all its adult, mentally competent citizens with full rights, duties, and responsibilities and a sense of belonging as an equal partner entitled to the benefits and burdens society offers…. At the minimum, the governance structure needs to recognize the diversity of its people.” Most importantly, the key dissimilarity inherent in the use of delegate bureaucracies is partiality. As Mosher (1968) states, “active representation manifests as partiality. It may be noted that active representativeness run rampant within a bureaucracy would constitute a major threat to orderly democratic government. The summing up of the multitude of special interest seeking effective representation does not constitute the public interest. The strengths of different private interest groups within administration are vastly unequal, and the establishment of anything approaching equity would be nearly impossible…. Thus there are very real problems in the development of a rounded concept of representative bureaucracy within democratic framework of the U.S” (Chowdhury, 2006).

Nonetheless, in the U.S, for example, as defined by Mosher majority scholars believe that achieving  bureaucracy is by representative bureaucracy meaning” there are two classifications – passive and active representation. Passive representation refers to the extent that the composition of the bureaucracy mirrors society”, where the active representation is meant to address whether the minority of the administrators thus advocates the needed especially of those who share the same demographic characteristics .importantly Mosher (1968, research the minority in bureaucracy have led to formation of substantive benefits for the emerging rate of population, he states that “many are reluctant to reject minority partiality because it allows for minority interests to be met, and reduces the disadvantages imposed upon them. This refusal to reject minority partiality threatens the established principle of neutral bureaucracy, orderly government, and service to the general public interests. It also results in heavy costs to the minority groups itself – legitimizing partiality by other bureaucrats, and relinquishment of other potential benefits. So, if this link were nonexistent, than representative bureaucracies would not fulfill its democratic purpose and thus much of the research has shown a positive relationship between the two” (Calhoun, 1953).

The evolution of the organization theory is a way to capture the development of the organizations. Modern administrative sectors can be classified into major fields that is; government and management. Bureaucracy relates with public administration in that; majority of theorists have defined and sealed the gap between public and private management. In his book Max Weber explains what bureaucracy relates to public administration. He quotes that “bureaucracies are organizations that manage resources for citizens (Mosher, 1968). The "physical" characteristics the organization and the position of public officials were essential to its structure. Weber held that graduated authority and equitable, formalized procedures guard against the subjective abuse of power by bureaucrats”. In his text, he admires the fact that bureaucracy is trustworthy that is “bureaucracy was constituted by a group of professional, ethical public officials (Stivers, 1964). These servants dedicate themselves to the public in return for security of job tenure among the many advantages of public employment. By rationalizing the organization of individuals and recognizing the professional nature of the field, Weber implicitly supports Wilson's politics-administration dichotomy”. However in bureaucracy human being learns to embrace a successful dynamic concept of each employee and the management techniques, where a theoretic shift that define that an employee is by far a cog in any industrial machine.

However, employees are observed as unique individuals who possess goals, desires and needs and thus this quality makes them be prominent humanists. Some authors also claim that in the organization, human being as social beings they have conflicts over one another; this should be taken to be neither good nor bad for in an organization it is inevitable. Alternatively, Chris Argyris in his book that relates to business management: Personality and Organization.  In his book he argues that” “formal organizational structures and traditional management practices tend to be at odds with certain basic trends toward individual growth and development”. Argyris continues, “Executives must therefore fuse basic human tendencies for growth and development with demands of the organization’s task” (Osborne and Gaebler, 1993).

In the U.S positive bureaucracies is taken to be a rational and the efficient form of any organization that those alternatives that preceded them. Bureaucracy is also taken as part of legal domination and that it is bureaucracy becomes inefficient when decisions are supposed to be enacted in any individual case (Neil, 1993). However, the attributes of the modern bureaucracy thus includes the concentration and impersonality of any mean of administration that includes all the leveling effects on economic and social differences and the implementation of the organization that is unchallengeable. In the U.S bureaucracies are said to be distinct from the former feudal systems, where individuals were being promoted to higher ranks through favoritism and use of bribes but now there are set of rules that defines disciplinary control and the criteria of promotion. Nonetheless, bureaucracies in the U.S are said to be goal oriented organizations that are usually based on rational principles that are efficiently used to reach goals of any organization (Tullock, 1965).

The negative effects about bureaucracy are the fact that it concentrate more of its powers within a small number of individuals and are usually unregulated. Bureaucracy however, tends to engender oligarchy where a few selected officials take control of economic and political power. However, bureaucracy in the U.S is taken to be an organization superior thus rationalization and bureaucratization can at some times be inescapable fate. In his book, Crozier derives bureaucracy as an outward appearance of an organization that evokes"... the slowness, the ponderousness, the routine, the complication of procedures and the maladapted responses of the bureaucratic organization to the needs which they should satisfy" (Crozier, 1964, p 3). He further examines that a number of ethnically precise bureaucratic organizations in the effort of understanding the reason to why bureaucracies became dysfunctional. Crozier describes the sense in which he uses the term bureaucracy thus:

A bureaucratic organization is an organization that cannot correct its behavior by learning from its errors" (Crozier, 1964, p 187)"... not only a system that does not correct its behavior in view of its errors; it is also too rigid to adjust, without crises, to the transformations that the accelerated evolution of the industrial society makes more and more imperative" (Crozier, 1964, p 198). In essence, Crozier presents an argument against the Tayloristic notion of 'the one best way' to organize an activity and Weber's view of bureaucracy as the ultimate expression of rationality and efficiency. He notes that in 1964 'advanced organizations' had already:"... been obliged to discard completely the notion of the one best way [and] are beginning to understand that the illusion of perfect rationality has to long persisted, weakening the possibilities of action by insisting on rigorous logic and immediate coherence" (Crozier, 1964, p 159) For Crozier, organizations are not autonomous entities but social constructs that are"... man made and socially created [and] the indirect result of the power struggles within the organization" (Crozier, 1964, p 162). Attacking both the rationalists and the human relations school for ignoring the role that such power struggle play in the shaping of an organization he argues that organizational relations are in fact a series of strategic games where the protagonists attempt either to exploit any areas of discretion for their own ends, or to prevent others from gaining an advantage “Each group fights to preserve and enlarge the area upon which it has some discretion, attempts to limit its dependence upon other groups and accept such dependence only insofar as it is a safeguard if there is no other choice but submission" (Crozier, 1964, p 156).

Bureaucracy when incorporated to the public administration or the private sector it tends to reduce workers cog making them see themselves in a light where they are not able to transform themselves to a bigger cog. Bureaucracy also leads to specialization where, the society becomes independent and thus provides less common purpose (Albrow, 1970). There arises a loss of community because the purpose designed for bureaucracy is to make a task done. In bureaucracy it makes individuals lack freedom where, individuals have no communion with the society unless they belong to a larger organization. In a book by Tullock he states that “Bureaucratic hierarchies can control resources in pursuit of their own personal interests, which impacts society’s lives greatly and society has no control over this. It also affects society’s political order and governments because bureaucracies were built to regulate these organizations, but corruption remains an issue. The goal of the bureaucracy has a single-minded pursuit that can ruin social order; what might be good for the organization might not be good for the society as a whole, which can later harm the bureaucracy’s future”. This aspect states why bureaucracy can sometimes help and ruin the private and public sectors (Weber, 1947).

Works cited

Albrow, Martin. (1970) Bureaucracy: London: Macmillan Publishers.

Calhoun, John. (1953) A Disquisition on Government: New York: The Liberal Arts Press, pp.17-18.

Chowdhury, F. (2006) Corrupt Bureaucracy and Privatization of Tax Enforcement: Dhaka: Pathak Samabesh,

Crozier, M. (1964) The Bureaucratic Phenomenon: London: Tavistock Publications

Denhard, Robert B. 2000. Theories of Public Organizations: Orlando Florida: Harcourt Brace & Co.

Ernest Mandel. (1992) Power and Money: A Marxist Theory of Bureaucracy. London: Verso.

Fry, Brian. (1989). Mastering Public Administration: New Jersey: Chatham House Publishers, Inc.

Huber & Shipan. (2002) Deliberate discretion, The institutional foundations of bureaucratic autonomy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Mae, Kelly Rita. (1998). An inclusive democratic polity, representative bureaucracies, and the new public management: New York, public administration review 58 (3):201-8.

Mosher, Frederick. (1968) Democracy and the Public Service: New York: Oxford University Press.

Murray, N. (1993) Man, Economy and State: A Treatise on Economic Principles: Auburn, AL: Ludwig von Mises Institute.

Neil Garston. (1993), Bureaucracy: Three Paradigms. Boston: Kluwer publishers.

Osborne, D and Gaebler, T. (1993) Reinventing Government, How the Entrepreneurial Spirit is Transforming the Public Sector: New York: W. W. Norton & Company.

Stivers, Camilla (1964) The Bureaucratic Phenomenon: Trans London: Tavistock Publications.

Tullock, G. (1965) The Politics of Bureaucracy: Washington, D.C.: Public Affairs Press.

Weber, Max. (1947) The Theory of Social and Economic Organization: London: Collier Macmillan Publishers.