Max Weber, a German social scientist, analyzed the formation and administration of enterprises. The main features of this approach are as follows:
1. Division of Work: There is division of work on basis of specialization of jobs in bureaucratic organizations. Each employee performs his specialized work in a predictable manner.
2. Rules and Regulations: Detailed rules and regulations regarding work behavior, rights and duties of employee are laid down. Rules are designed to ensure the consistency in work performance.
3. Hierarchy of Authority: Hierarchy in organizations is characterized by downward delegation of authority. Each superior exercises control over his subordinates.
4. Technical Competence: Selection and promotion of employees are based on the technical competence of employees. Training is also provided to familiarize the employees with the rules and administrative procedures of the organization.
5. Record Keeping: Every decision and action is recorded in its original as well as draft form.
6. lmpersonal Relations: Superiors are formal in dealings with their subordinates.
Advantages of Bureaucracy
1. Specialization: A bureaucratic organization provides the advantages of specialization because every member is assigned a specialized task to perform.
2. Structure: A structure of form is created by specifying the duties and responsibilities and reporting relationships within a command hierarchy. Structure sets the pace and framework for the functioning of the organization.
3. Rationality: A measure of objectivity is ensured by prescribing in advance the criteria far decision making in routine situations.
4. Predictability: The rules, regulations, specialization, structure and training import predictability and thereby ensure stability in the organization. Conformity to rules and roles in the structural framework bring about order to cope with complexity.
5. Democracy: Emphasis on qualifications and technical competence make the organization more democratic. Officials are guided by the prescribed rules, policies and practices rather than by patronage or other privileged treatment.
Disadvantages of Bureaucracy
1. Rigidity: Rules and regulations in a bureaucracy are often rigid and inflexible. Rigid compliance with rules and regulations discourages initiative and creativity. It may also provide the cover to avoid responsibility for failures.
2. Goal Displacement: Rules framed to achieve organizational objectives at each level become an end to themselves. When individuals at lower levels pursue personal objectives, the overall objectives of the organization may be neglected.
3. Impersonality: A bureaucratic organization stresses a mechanical way of doing things. Organizational rules and regulations are given priority over an individual’s needs and emotions.
4. Compartmentalization of Activities: Jobs ore divided into categories, which restrict people from performing tasks that they are capable of performing. It also encourages preservation of jobs even when they become redundant.
5. Paperwork: Bureaucracy involves excessive paperwork as every decision must be put into writing. All documents have to be maintained in their draft and original forms. This leads to great wastage of time, stationery and space.
6. Empire Building: People in bureaucracy tend to use their positions and resources to perpetuate self interests. Every superior tries to increase the number of his subordinates as if this number is considered a symbol of power and prestige.
7. Red Tape: Bureaucratic procedures involve inordinate delays and frustration in the performance of tasks.