Max Weber Bureaucratic Management Theory

Various management theories have administered the corporate environment in the past out of which Bureaucratic management theory by Max Weber complies well with the modern organizational structure. Bureaucratic management emphasizes the development of a structure within an organization and employs formalities to assist in effectively governing the structure. Bureaucratic management commenced transforming the conventional administrative reforms and the foster hierarchy of services in the workplace. This approach to management became successful because it revolutionized the industrialization. The organizations need not follow the emotional appeal anymore and could stress on being rational.

Introduction to Bureaucratic management

Bureaucratic management, as mentioned above, follows a strict structure which is familiar to the people serving the organizational sector. The appropriate division of powers characterizes it. In simple words, the person sitting at the authoritative position will have more power than everyone under him/her. Additionally, the theory suggests that there is a close association between authority and responsibility. An individual who holds higher power is entitled to more responsibilities and vice versa. Besides, the Bureaucratic approach outlines the importance of organizational hierarchy where information flow and decision making follows the top-to-bottom approach. The information and decision making is further governed by adhering to well-defined guidelines and policies.

Benefits of adopting Bureaucratic approach

It is noteworthy that Bureaucratic management requires strict adherence to the rules and regulations. If an employee complies well with the regulations and aptly fits with the company’s structure, he/she can expect job promotion and increased job security. Furthermore, the Bureaucratic methodology relishes competence. However, this competence is highly related to qualifications. In the modern-day, companies hire and promote individuals with respect to their qualifications and skills and not based on personal relationships. Also, this approach to management suggests that complying with the rules and regulations is necessary for the organization as well as an individual to succeed, and therefore, everyone should be bound to the principles. This is something that makes this theory special for human service organizations. The organizations can proceed professionally in their endeavours and successfully administer thousands of employees. Since everything is developed according to a structure, the employees are able to navigate their interests within the organization and are well aware of their roles.

Most importantly, Bureaucracies provide the employees and clients with work certainty. Owners and organizations are bound by policies which force them to behave in a standard manner, something that disallows anyone to rob off essential assets. The clients and employees are ensured that their practices and demands will be addressed and they won’t be treated differently from all the other entities both inside and outside the organization. Besides, the power vested with the experienced administrators assist them in comprehending the issues related to the clients. They are well aware of the ill-technicalities that exist within the organizational domain and work in favour of eliminating the loopholes, which, in any manner, affect the clients.

Challenges Bureaucratic management poses for human services organizations

While Bureaucratic management seems to have a logical footprint, it might as well disrupt an organization’s workflow. First off, the emphasis is mostly on rules and regulations, which binds an individual’s work methods. Everyone is entitled to work according to the job descriptions that are ideal but cannot be compared to the real-life scenario. In most of the cases, Bureaucracies aren’t able to address the modern-day problems because the responsibilities described are set according to the past conventional standards. Plus, this approach requires documentation of almost everything that not only accounts for the delay in decision making but also makes it difficult for the members to compensate for this delay. Unfortunately, the documentation hampers the communication as each level of authority is bound to work within the constraints. For instance, a person at the lower will have to issue an application regarding the problems instead of directly communicating with the target individual or involving in the dialogue.

Apart from hindering efficient communication, Bureaucracies are mostly oblivious to the personal growth of an employee. The models that run on this management approach only offer value to technical qualifications for the promotions. In this way, they often align the employees to work for the things that they aren’t competent enough to do. The too much importance given to the qualifications eliminates the essentiality of bearing qualities like dedication and commitment, which are the actual pillars for working effectively in a real human source organization. Upon carefully analyzing the Bureaucratic system, it becomes evident that Bureaucracies are mainly aligned towards working in a stable environment and therefore, they are unable to keep up with the societal as well as technological growth. The persistent focus on stabilizing the aspects puts immense pressure on the workers who find it challenging to derive fruits while working amidst an inflexible environment. This pressure eventually results in a conflict of interest within the employees and, in the worst scenario, workers leaving the companies.

Why Bureaucratic approach to management is a good fit for me whether I am an employee, manager or owner of an organization?

From an individual’s perspective

Despite the challenges faced in adopting bureaucracy, it makes for an effective approach when talking in terms of proper management and administration. If I am an employee, bureaucracy assists me in creating numerous opportunities to succeed within the organization. Even if my promotion relies on my qualifications, it ensures that adhering to specific rules and regulations can see me at prominent positions.  Most importantly, it “Protects [me] from unfair rulings from leaders, which gives [me] a greater sense of security” (Matjie, 2018). Furthermore, as an employee, I’ll be in search of a well-defined job description, and favourably, bureaucracy does that for me. Besides, bureaucracy is mostly responsible for low corruption as it highly values the democratic lifestyle. For an employee serving the organization, the authoritative bodies mustn’t have complete control over his/her credibility, and this makes it easier for the employees to work in favour of their responsibilities.

From management’s perspective

The vitality of bureaucracy can be understood from the management’s perspective as well. As mentioned above, adherence to impersonal and professional realm makes it easier for the organization to attend internal conflicts and solve them. Apart from this, bureaucracy makes it easier for human services organizations to maintain and control a broad audience. The rules imposed on various levels allow for better functioning as everyone is aware of their jobs. If I am the manager of a medium to large scale enterprise, I would want my employees to follow the rules and regulations. This would entitle me to address their problems and at the same time, develop trust. Having said that, it becomes essential to foster healthiness in the workplace to bear profits. However, this healthiness is only sustained when their trust “in institutions of government and among citizens” (Weber, 1958).

From an organization’s perspective

From the perspective of an organization’s owner, bureaucracy helps in the division of power and responsibility and forms an entirely democratic structure. It is beneficial for human services organizations because it works on four clearly defined “principles -Hierarchical positions, rules of system, division of labor for specialization, and impersonal relationship” (Sarker & Khan, 2013). It is the reason why bureaucratic management commenced by Max Weber is extensively used by the organizations to run the businesses effectively. As an owner, I would choose bureaucracy over other management approaches because it makes the operations crystal clear. Additionally, bureaucracy supports centralization, which is essential to manage large audiences and set efficient policies for effective decision-making. This not only makes the organization grow but allows the inclusion of competence (Matjie, 2018).

Besides, bureaucratic management supports rationalization, something that becomes highly important when an individual is to get a promotion. Also, the logical footprint eliminates corruption and runs the organization without adhering to emotional appeal and personalization. As described by Weber, bureaucracy is ideal for organizations to promote equality and recognize the definition of segregating labour (Weber, 1978). For me, running an organization requires consistency, which can be achieved by setting rules and deadlines. The consistency assists in achieving the long- and short-term objectives and satisfying the social, psychological and self-esteem needs of an individual. In other words,  Bureaucratic management is useful in laying down the behavioural constraints that can elevate consistency (Albrow, 1984). Not only this, the well-defined structure aids in presenting a clear view of the authoritative levels and their associated duties, which is crucial in preventing the conflict of interests in a human services organization.


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