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    Bureaucracy & Organizational Structure

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    Bureaucracy, specific form of organization defined by complexity, division of labor, permanence, professional management, hierarchical coordination and control, strict chain of command, and legal authority. It is distinguished from informal and collegian organizations. In its ideal form, bureaucracy is impersonal and rational and based on rules rather than ties of kinship, friendship, or patrimonial or charismatic authority. Bureaucratic organization can be found in both public and private institutions. (Greenwald, 2008).

    Contemporary stereotypes of bureaucracy tend to portray it as unresponsive, lethargic, undemocratic, and incompetent. Weber's theory of bureaucracy, however, emphasizes not only its comparative technical and proficiency advantages but also attributes its dominance as a form of organization to the diminution of caste systems and other forms of inequitable social relations based upon a person's status. In the pure form of bureaucratic organization universalized rules and procedures would dominate, rendering personal status or connections irrelevant. In this form, bureaucracy is the epitome of universalized standards under which similar cases are treated similarly as codified by law and rules, and under which the individual tastes and discretion of the administrator are constrained by due process rules. Despite the widespread derogatory stereotypes of bureaucracy, a system of government grounded in law requires bureaucracy to function (Greenwald, 2008).

    Nevertheless, the words bureaucracy and bureaucrat are typically thought of and used pejoratively. They convey images of red tape, excessive rules and regulations, imaginativeness's, a lack of individual discretion, central control, and an absence of accountability. Far from being conceived as proficient, popular contemporary portrayals often paint bureaucracies as inefficient and lacking in adaptability. Because the characteristics that define the organizational advantages of bureaucracy also contain within them the possibilities of organizational dysfunction, both the flattering and unflattering depictions of bureaucracy can be accurate. Thus, the characteristics that make bureaucracies proficient paradoxically also may produce organizational pathologies (Greenwald, 2008).

    Greenwald, H. P. (2008). Organizations: Management without control. Sage Publications.

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    Solution Preview

    I really like your post because it illustrates the benefits and challenges of bureaucracy. Initially, when one hears the terms "bureaucrat" or "bureaucracy" one does assume a negative connotation is intended. However, as Greenwald (2008) points out, bureaucracy can be a form of management structure that allows organizations to operate in a ...

    Solution Summary

    This solution describes the benefits of bureaucracy as it applies to organizational structure. Includes APA formatted reference.