- Published: October 31, 2021
- Updated: October 31, 2021
- University / College: University of Liverpool
- Language: English
- Downloads: 31
In the introductory of the chapter, bureaucracy is presented as a body of non-elective officials who are in governance or involved in decision making policy. Bureaucracy is presented as a system that has drawn a lot of negative public reaction evidenced by the attitude people have developed towards it. The Americans have referred bureaucracy a stupid, complex, aggressiveness and self-interest system. It was not until the time of Max Weber and his publications of bureaucracy that people began to see the importance of bureaucratic administration which is opposed to democracy. Max weber observed that bureaucracy promoted the activities ofthe society and it is through bureaucracy that human beings have evolved from primitive beings to modern beings with ability to organize themselves in to institutions that promote their wellbeing. According to Max weber, it is bureaucracy that facilitates the development of the modern human activities and institutions in the most efficient and rational way.
In his model of bureaucracy, Weber put forward some formal elements that have to be fulfilled for an efficient bureaucracy to be in operation. He postulated that there must be efficient division of labor and specialization. In this case, he observed that it was necessary to have a clear division of labor and specialization to ensure the experts worked or served in bureaus where they were most suited to execute their functions. Holders of offices had to have academic papers which served as a measure of qualification against which they were gauged.
Weber observed that there needed to be hierarchical order. Weber observed that a clear chain of command must exist for a bureaucracy to be effective. This would serve to ensure proper and clear flow of commands from the highest officials to the subordinates. This would facilitate supervision of lower offices by the head office to ensure they act within the laid up rules and procedures. The highest official enjoys social esteem and has the absolute authority vested to him by the virtue of office. This is because authority is vested in the office and anybody could rule as long as he holds the office. Remuneration is based on this hierarchy and the highest official receives the biggest package. Promotions are done from the junior ranks to senior ranks based on one’s qualification and experience. Some special privileges are also enjoyed by senior officials and authority is recognized.
Weber observed that there must be impersonal rules. Bureaucracies have certain defined rules and regulations in execution of their duties. Bureaucrats are not free to act the way they wish. They follow general rules which are less or more stable and which can be learned. The rules define the relationship between the various hierarchical offices and define the duties of each office. According to Weber, issues are supposed to be handled at the lower offices with exceptional of special issues that need to be tackled by the top offices. This ensures efficient execution of duties.
Based on the case ‘How Kristin died’, the circumstances under which she died demonstrated the negative impacts of bureaucracy as it failed to protect her from brutality of Michael Cartier who was her boyfriend. The system of bureaucracy is depicted to be the one that left Cartier on the streets and that would later lead to her death and that of Kristin. Warrants of arrests were issued but it did take a long time for Cartier to be arrested. The judges in Massachusetts were not coordinating since they did not investigate Cartier’s background and lock him up before the case escalates. The police were ineffective and did not execute the warrants of arrest immediately to prevent Cartier from committing more atrocities. When Cartier was taken to the courts, he was sentenced 12 months in prison for assaulting Rose but ended up serving only six months and went back to the streets. The courts failed in execution of their duties, the system too failed and this led to death of an innocent victim Kristin. Weber failed to point out failures of bureaucracy that led to death of Kristin. Weber also did not point out the informal dimension that promotes efficient functioning of bureaucracies. The long chain of processes caused delay and improper flow of information that led to its failure. Weber did not point out the informal dimensions such as human relationships, proper coordination of offices, law enforcement and proper channels of communication that promote efficient execution of duties. These are the major problems that have been associated with bureaucracy and which led to death of Kristin. The chain of command is long and decisions take long before they are affected.
Webber’s model is accurate but it is not comprehensive. Weber acknowledged the importance of bureaucracy and noted that the modern society could not thrive without bureaucracy. The society wanted to do things such as sports, build roads, organize trade caravans, wanted institutions like schools and churches, and wanted general administration to govern them. All this could not have happened without a governing authority and people in place to oversee the running of these structures. However, Weber’s model has failed to point out the destructive effects of bureaucracy. Weber did not acknowledge the existence of effective enforcement agencies to enforce laws to ensure that bureaucracies do not turn out to be dictatorial. Weber was able to show that bureaucracy was successful but only after many years of experimenting since organizations did not develop the features that Weber’s model suggested until late 20th century. The model successfully depicts the organizations the features of the early 19th century organizations and it was seen as an efficient machine that reliably accomplished their goals. Today people have pointed bureaucracies to be inefficient and slow. This mainly happens in organizations where authority is highly centralized such as in absolutely pure bureaucracies. However, Weber’s model shows it is successful in performing functions in organizations that are static where functions are routine but not in modern day’s dynamic organizations. The modern problems in the society could not be solved by weber’s model of bureaucracy because of the need of social reengineering which weber failed to stress in his model.
It is quite notable in his model that for any bureaucracy to be effective, there must be clear guidelines of hierarchical authority, expertise of trained bureaucrats, functional specialization and strong decision making units that make decisions based on a well laid out rules and regulations that define boundaries within the organization. He noted that to avoid favors, promotions and rewards should be based on qualifications and appointees should treat their offices as full time careers to ensure effectiveness. However, weber proposition that human beings needed to act like machines to ensure efficiency was far much not applicable. He did not investigate what actually takes place in organizations such as breaking rules, human conflicts and fail to adhere to the chain of command. All this factors are associated with humanity and human beings could not be like machines. As a result of these factors, that many people have always disliked bureaucracies since they are slow and inefficient.