Essay about Bureaucracy

2236 Words Dec 1st, 2015 9 Pages
A bureaucracy is defined as a form of organisation that centres on precision, speed, reliability, and efficiency achieved through the creation of job specialisation, hierarchical structure and detailed rules and regulations. (Visitchaichan, n.d. p.5) Bureaucratic organisations have been around for a very long time. They began as primarily the structure for just a few political and religious organisations (e.g. the US Government and the Roman Catholic Church). But by the second half of the 19th century, businesses were becoming larger and more complicated, and there was a move from small, primarily family run organisations to huge companies with hundreds or even thousands of employees. It became clear that a new form of organisation was …show more content…
(Johnson, 1993, p.12) The second feature that bureaucracies encompass is division of labour or job specification. This is where complex tasks are broken down into smaller, more precise tasks that different workers complete. Within a single organisation there may be hundreds of specialised job titles. The Dictionary of Occupational Titles lists 842 occupational titles encompassing 30,000 distinct job titles. (US Department of Labour, 1991) Job specialisation, in turn, leads to increased productivity. In his famous paper, Adam Smith describes the benefits of division of labour in the manufacture of pins. Instead of a single worker performing all of the operations, the task was split into eighteen separate operations. Dividing up the tasks allowed workers to develop specialised skills and to work at a regular, uninterrupted pace. (Smith, A. 1776 p.8)
The third trait is impersonality. This is where all employees are treated equally, regardless of their gender, race or ethnicity. (Volti, 2008, p.83). The fourth feature of bureaucracies is a formal recruiting process. Employees are chosen based on their ability to complete set tasks, or their capacity to learn the tasks that they are allocated. For example, in government bureaucracies, they usually use civil service examinations to recruit employees and in many other organisations job-specific tests are used. In addition to this, in bureaucratic organisations, promotion is based on employee

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