Death to Bureaucracy


Deathto Bureaucracy

Deathto Bureaucracy

Theaspect of bureaucracy is a common element in every organization. Itis useful o note that this is a form of management system inorganizations where there are laws and regulations and procedures arefollowed strictly with power and directions trickling down from thetop management to the employees. In other words, this system ofmanagement encourages a hierarchy sort of arrangement where thesenior managers have more power than the department managersdepartment managers have more power than the supervisors andsupervisors are powerful than the employees. In a bureaucracy form ofmanagement in an organization, every action is done following astrict laid down process which is rigid and which does not allow roomfor adjustment or change (Bloomberg, 2011).


Thearticle has clearly stated that the aspect of bureaucracy is theenemy within. It is an aspect that every employee or manager isuncomfortable with, but is unable to fight it. The war againstbureaucracy is not easy. It is not a battle that can be won within ashort time, but managers have to keep fighting to eliminate thisaspect. The article has stated that the managers have the power toeliminate or retain bureaucracy. This aspect is a making of themanagement and they are the only department in an organization thatcan deal with this elephant in the room (Bloomberg, 2011). Accordingto the asserting made by the article, bureaucracy is killer ofmotivation and creativity amongst employees. It is stated clearlythat bureaucracy in organizations is an enemy to everybody. However,employees in organizations are opposed to managers who seek toeliminate bureaucracy in totality. This creates an element ofconfusion as to why the same people opposed to bureaucracy are thesame ones still opposing managers seeking to eliminate it.

Bureaucracy,according to the article, does not receive the fight back that itdeserves. Managers and employees at large are reluctant to fight thisenemy vehemently. According to the article, it is assumed that theenemy named bureaucracy is too big to slay for any employee. It ishowever, evidently clear that managers have the authority and thepower to slay this monster called bureaucracy. The reason whymanagers fail to fight bureaucracy vehemently is because theemployees get defensive (Bloomberg, 2011). It is not clearlyexplained in the article as to why employees are against the slayingof bureaucracy. In a bureaucratic form of management, ideas flow inone direction from top to bottom. Employees and junior managers, aswell as the supervisors have little or no say in the running of theorganization. This discourages and kills creativity, as well ascompetitiveness. It is surprising that bureaucracy continues to be acentral management system in numerous organizations and businessesacross the world.

Bureaucracyensures that ideas and opinions are only valued depending on who theoriginator is. Managers are likely to have their ideas go throughunlike the junior employees. This is a dangerous trend for anybusiness since some of the best ideas are hidden under the carpet.There is no creativity in such instances and business remainsuncompetitive. It is evident from the article that in a bureaucracy,there is no flow of ideas in various directions (Bloomberg, 2011). Itis essential to have a situation where ideas are flowing in alldirections, top, bottom and horizontal. Bureaucracy ensures that theemployees operate as cogs in machines. There is a strict course thatmust be followed by the employees.

Thearticle proposes certain ways through which the bureaucracy monstercan be eliminated from a business. Whereas employees and somemanagers may be defensive against efforts to defeat bureaucracy, itis essential to keep fighting. The article has asserted that it isparamount to note that the fight against bureaucracy is never endingand it is impossible to declare a total win against this aspect.However, it is essential to keep fighting and to make people feeluncomfortable when they propose ideas that seem rigid or formal. Thearticle suggests that in order to completely win the war, it isimperative to ensure that the war is continuous despite resistancefrom the employees and some managers. It is essential reward andpraise people who are against bureaucracy and people who favor freeflow of ideas. Although this idea seems simplistic, it is clear thatit is a start towards eliminating bureaucracy. It is however,essential to note that bureaucracy does have a number of advantageswhich are the reason why some people prefer it (Bloomberg, 2011).Another proposal by the article towards fighting bureaucracy is thatof making people fail at time through presenting challenging anddifficult tasks. It is essential to ensure that managers arepresented with challenging tasks and given the freedom to chose whatbest works for them. &nbsp

Critiqueof the article

Thereare a number of shortcomings associated with the ideas and theconcept presented by the article. This article does not clearlyhighlight the disadvantages associated with bureaucracy besides lackof creativity and business competitiveness. To assert thatbureaucracy kills a business, it is essential to clearly demonstratewhy this happens and the dangers of embarking on a management stylethat would indeed kill a business. The connection between bureaucracyand its role in killing a business is no clearly put across. Thearticle also fails to demonstrate why employees and some managersfail to abhor this aspect. It is clear that bureaucracy must besupported for its advantages in the management process. However, thearticle simply demonizes bureaucracy without providing any reasons asto why some employees and managers are in support of it (Bloomberg,2011). It would have been essential for article authors todemonstrate the effects of a bureaucratic management system and toshow that such a management system is disastrous to a business.

Relevanceof bureaucracy model to today’s management practice

Intoday’s management system, the concept of bureaucracy as presentedby Weber is both beneficial and disastrous. The article has presentedthe concept of bureaucratic management in businesses as a killer ofcompetitiveness and creativity. This is absolutely true and researchhas indeed indicated that rigid and strict procedures inorganizations kill employees’ morale hence diminishing theircreativity (Barzelay&ampArmajani,2014). It is essential to look at the various characteristics ofbureaucracy in order to analyze its effectiveness and orineffectiveness to today’s management system. The main feature ofbureaucracy is the presence of hierarchy that exists. It is evidentfrom research that in a bureaucratic organization, positions are heldin terms of ranks with each rank being higher than the other (Clegget al., 2011). It is useful to note that the higher the rank, themore the power. The top most managers have immense power over therest of the positions. Power in a bureaucratic organization flowsfrom top to bottom or in what is called a one direction flow ofpower. It is essential also to note that the same hierarchy flows inthe offices within organizations. Each office answers to theimmediate higher office. Whereas some offices might be in same level,they serve different functions (Peshawar&ampHaider,2014).

Ina bureaucratic organization, there is division of labor where everyemployee and every office has its own officially assigned duties andfunctions. The division of labor is based on the competence of thepeople assigned the functions. This ensures that the organizationbenefits from the various employee competencies and skills. Eachoffice or department must not interfere with the duties and thefunctions of other departments and must only address its ownfunctions (Cole,2014). Another clear feature of the bureaucratic form of managementis the presence of rules which govern the operations of the managersand other employees. The rules are extremely strict and everyemployee must adhere to these rules while at the organization.Additionally, the bureaucratic form of organizational management doesnot allow managers or employees to have personal relationships.People holding official positions are discouraged from incorporatingpersonal emotions and sentiments in their duties or when dealing withother employees.

Havinganalyzed the various main features of a bureaucratic managementsystem, it is useful to highlight how the concept can be relevant totoday’s management practice. Due to the rules and procedures in abureaucratic management system, research has indicated that themanagement process is normally made easy (Clegg&amp Kornberger,2011).It is clear that in today’s management practice, managers have todeal with numerous employees especially in instances where they leadmultinational organizations. A bureaucratic management system ensuresthat employees only operate within the laid down rules and procedures(Kramer,2015). This ensures that the employees depict consistency in behaviorand practice and this makes their management easy. Additionally,managers take little time to decide the consequences that employeeswill face due to breaking the rules and procedures (Dwivedi&ampGow,2014). This is because there are records and documents in abureaucratic management that indicate the effects of breaking suchrules and procedures. Therefore, bureaucratic management system canbe relevant in today’s management practice.

Secondly,in a bureaucratic management system, the responsibilities and thefunctions for every employee are clearly defined. This implies thatthere is no conflict of jobs or overlapping of duties. This is anapproach that ensures that there is maximum utilization of humanresources. In today’s management practice, the utilization of humanresource is at the core. Managers must ensure that they get themaximum benefit from the employees that they have (Kramer,2015). It is therefore clear that the bureaucratic form of managementis indeed relevant in today’s management practice. This is evenimmensely relevant in organizations or business entities withnumerous departments. It is extremely easy for such an organizationto have overlapping duties and therefore the feature of bureaucracyof division of labor comes in as extremely vital. This aspect iscoupled with the feature of bureaucracy where employees are onlypromoted on the basis of merit and expertise (Juran,2014). This ensures that the right employees hold the positions andtherefore contributes immensely towards the organization. This aspectis indeed vital and relevant to the modern management practice whereissues relating to favoritism, nepotism and racism surround the areasof promotions (Harber&ampDavies,2012). This approach of bureaucracy would ensure that the peopletasked with promoting and or assigning employees’ duties do it onthe basis of merit and expertise of the particular employees.

Anotheraspect that makes the bureaucratic management process applicable andrelevant to the modern management practice is the aspect of divisionof labor. Division of labor is a central element of today’smanagement practice where every employee has his or her dutiesclearly defined (Cole,2014). This ensures that employees become experts in their area ofpractice and hence become beneficial to the business enterprise.Additionally, the performance of employees increases immensely as aresult of working in one area where they are best fit. Today’smanagement practice seeks to ensure that employees are performingoptimally and that they are helping the organization attain itsgoals. Lastly, one area that today’s management practice suffersfrom is the issue of employee turnover (Clegg et al., 2011).Bureaucratic management system ensures that when an employee leavesan organization, there is another employee who is ready to take overthe duties of the leaving employees. It is clear therefore that thisfeature is indeed relevant to today’s management practice.Competition in today’s businesses makes employees to leave theirorganizations for other greener pastures and the managers must beready to replace such employees immediately to ensure theorganization does not suffer in any way (Cole,2014).

Critiqueof the relevance of bureaucracy to today’s management practice

Whereasbureaucracy may seem relevant and applicable to today’s managementpractice, there are instances where some of its features aredetrimental to today’s management practice. To start with, today’smanagement practice is deeply mindful of the human factor ofemployees. Today’s managers want their employees to feel at home inthe organization they work. This is however not the case with thebureaucratic system of management (Hales,2010). The presence of excessive rules and regulations in theoperations of the organization and the strict observation of suchrules and procedures have been blamed for the lack of initiative andgrowth by employees. Research has indicated that the employees aretreated like machine cogs where there is a strict course to befollowed. Human resource specialists have pointed out to the lack ofhuman factor in a bureaucratic system of management. This is indeedagainst the principles of today’s management practice where thehuman factor is deeply valued and catered for (Kramer,2015). Additionally, bureaucracy has been associated with resistanceto change by employees and the management at large. It is evidentlyclear that employees are used to a system and a procedure or aprocess through which things are done. In such instances, theemployees and the management are opposed to any new form ofoperations that the organization may seek to introduce. This istotally against the principles of today’s management practice.Managers of today embrace change in the organization (Clegg,2011). It is clear that there are various changes such astechnological changes which the organization must adopt if it has toremain competitive. This feature of bureaucracy makes its applicationto today’s management practice ineffective and irrelevant.

Anotheraspect of the bureaucratic management that is contrary to today’smanagement practice is the lack of belongingness by employees to theorganizations they work for. In today’s management practice,employees are valued and the management seeks to ensure that theemployees feel as part of the organization they work for (Meier&ampO`Toole,2015). This is considered as a way of enhancing productivity andreducing the employee turnover. Additionally, the aspect of lowmorale due to specialization is evident in bureaucraticorganizations. This is contrary to the modern management system wherethe management seeks to raise the morale of the employees. Althoughspecialization is valued in today’s management practice, it isclear that the specialization is not rigid and employees can easilychange positions within the organization (Herbst,2013).


Thebureaucratic model as proposed by Weber is only applicable inorganizations which do not anticipate changes in the future. Therigidity exhibited by the model is ineffective for organizations thatexperience changes every now and then (Clegg et al., 2011). This isthe reason why this system of management is only found in governmentorganizations which do not anticipate any changes. Research hasindicated that government organizations take an extremely long timebefore they adopt any change. This makes them fit for thebureaucratic model of management. However, organizations or businessenterprises which require adopting changes such as technologicalchanges cannot operate effectively under bureaucratic model ofmanagement (Kramer,2015). It is also evident that government organizations might not becompeting against other organizations and or business enterprises inthe private sector. Bureaucracy cannot work in situations where theorganization is engaged in competitive business. As the articleclearly indicated, the aspect of bureaucracy kills creativity andbusiness competitiveness. The article was indeed insightful andrelevant to the study of today’s management. It is essentialtoday’s managers to fight and resist bureaucracy in theorganization. Whereas managers may want to follow certain proceduresand process, it is essential to ensure that such procedures andprocesses are not as rigid and they can be adjusted to fit into thedemands of the organization.


Clegg,S., Harris,M., &amp Höpfl,H. (2011).&nbspManagingmodernity beyond bureaucracy?&nbspOxford, OxfordUniversity Press.

Griffin,R. W. (2012).&nbspManagement.Mason, OH,CENGAGE Learning Custom Publishing.

Herbst,H. (2013).&nbspBusinessrule-oriented conceptual modeling.Heidelberg,Physical-Verlag.

Harber,C., &amp Davies, L. (2012).&nbspSchoolmanagement and effectiveness in developing countries: Thepost-bureaucratic school.London,Continuum.

Clegg,S. &amp Kornberger,M. (2011). Managingand Organizations:&nbspAnIntroduction to Theory and Practice.London, SAGE publications.

Dwivedi,O. P., &amp Gow, J. I. (2014).&nbspFrombureaucracy to public management: The administrativeculture of the government of Canada.Peterborough, Ont,Broadview Press.

Barzelay,M., &amp Armajani, B. J. (2014).&nbspBreakingthrough bureaucracy: A new vision for managingin government.Berkeley,University of California Press.

Juran,J. M. (2014).&nbspBureaucracy:A challenge to better managementa constructive analysis of managementeffectiveness in the Federal Government.New York,Harper &amp Brothers Publ.

Peshawar&ampHaider, S. M. (2014).Administrativemanagement, bureaucracy, and rural developmentand economics of development: A report on the training of divisionaland districtlevel officers, Jan. 17, 1977 to Mar. 26, 1977.Peshawar,Pakistan Academy for RuralDevelopment.

Bloomberg.(2007). Deathto bureaucracy.Retrieved from: to-bureaucracy

Clegg,S., Harris, M., &amp Höpfl,H. (2011).&nbspManagingmodernity: Beyond bureaucracy?Oxford, OxfordUniversity Press.

Hales,C. (2010).&nbspManagingthrough organization:The management process, forms of organizationand the work of managers.London,Business Press Thomas Learning.

Meier,K. J., &amp O`Toole, L. J. (2015).&nbspBureaucracyin a democratic state: A governance perspective.Baltimore, Md,Johns Hopkins Univ. Press.

Cole,G. A. (2014).&nbspManagementtheory and practice.London: Thomson Learning.

Kramer,F. A. (2014).&nbspDynamicsof public bureaucracy: An introduction to public management. Cambridge,Mass: Winthrop.