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Essay on Organizational Bureaucracy


Bureaucracy is a philosophical component in management that entails complex and systematic procedural processes in an organizational setup to achieve the best discipline in terms of daily running activities to ensure that every potential and effort is set towards the desired company’s goal. This paper builds a broad review of the basics of bureaucracy and its diverse nature of application in the various philosophical fields of analysis, thus stretching a blueprint for the readers to source information and base their arguments of study. The multiple points of reference brought about in this article include the different views about bureaucracy expressed by various schools of thought and their applications in the organizational field of operation. The conclusive notation for this article is that bureaucracy lives with us from day to day when we associate ourselves with any organizational structure whereby rules and regulations are a matter of interest, especially in measuring corporate and individual performance. Consequently, due to the heuristic state of the ever-changing trends in the organizational bureaucratic realm, it is, therefore, necessary for companies to keep up with this inevitable component to ensure the successful and effective running of daily operations.


A sophisticated corporation with multiple procedures and processes is a bureaucracy. Bureaucracy can also be termed a method or structure for maintaining consistent control inside and throughout organizations. Therefore, bureaucracy effectively translates to “office rule.” Max Weber, a German sociologist, became among the modern philosophers to critically consider the aspect of bureaucracy (1864-1920). He characterized the notion as a method for sensibly organizing a complicated enterprise. A bureaucratic institution is a state agency or a private company with a well-defined line of authority and strict operational rules. It is an administrative structure based on policies, norms, and hierarchy in both the public and private sectors. Bureaucracy is essential in administering standards and procedures in firms and public companies. A bureaucracy framework is intended to handle complex, methodical cooperation among numerous individuals operating at diverse stages to reach a particular target. It used to refer to a government order, though nowadays, it refers to the institutional framework that governs any vast entity. Hierarchical, standardization, expertise, segmentation, and a set standard of behavior add to the many forms of bureaucracy. This paper elaborates on the specific ideologies about bureaucracy founded by the various primary schools of thought in the philosophical management field.

Views of the Philosophical School of Thought on Bureaucracy

Max Weber’s Perspective on Bureaucracy

A philosopher named Max Weber was the first scholar to bring out the idea of bureaucracy in organizational setup to break down the ambiguity in executing tasks within a specific firm. Max Weber, a philosopher from Germany and founder of Both the Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalist system (1905), was the first to use and define the concept of bureaucracy in the late nineteenth century. According to Aryati (2020, pp.33-55), bureaucracy is also referred to as the Max Weber philosophy, bureaucratic organizational concept, or bureaucratic organization principle. He argued that one of the most efficient approaches to building up a corporation, management, and enterprises was bureaucracy. Weber considered bureaucracy to be superior to traditional societies. Everybody is given proper attention to bureaucratic organization, and every employee’s specialization is explicitly defined. As per Max Weber’s bureaucratic model, such a framework was required in huge enterprises to accomplish various jobs systematically with a significant amount of staff. Furthermore, in a bureaucratic organization, only professional credentials are used to choose and promote employees (Bishu & Kennedy, 2020, pp.559-588).

In terms of authority and legitimate accountability, Max Weber institutions possess several varieties of significant powers: classic authority, influence tactics, and constitutional authority. In his bureaucratic idea, Max Weber refers to those as a bureaucracy. This idea of constituted power prevails throughout all areas of democracy, which are organized upon the foundation of regulations and norms (Byron & Roscigno, 2019). Regarding these powers, several elements necessarily help describe what bureaucratic administration entails in the concept of organizational philosophy. Weber specifies these components, including; the fact that all routine bureaucratic actions might be considered official obligations administration possesses the power to make standards. And finally, upon that foundation of established processes, could follow policies.

Consequently, Max Weber points out the various features of a bureaucratic organization which sheds more light on the founder’s mental insight of a bureaucratic management system. He accomplishes this scenario by applying the concept and how the phenomenon contributes toward organizational arrangement and order in the administrative arena. Some of the specific attributes of a bureaucratic organization include;

Specialization of Duties: In a bureaucratic organization, the foundation underlying capabilities and functional disciplines, assignments are categorized into superficial and recurring types. Diab and Cohen (2021) depict that each worker is accountable for whatever they excel in and precisely understands the required amount. The organization gains immediately from the division of tasks based on specialization. Every unit possesses distinct authority. Consequently, duties are much more clearly defined, and supervisors can further readily contact potential staff whenever individuals fail to accomplish their assignments. Each worker understands precisely the quantity required of them and what authority they have inside the company. Each worker has a different role inside the company and must concentrate entirely on that role. Thus, in a bureaucracy, acting above and beyond own obligations, including assuming the duties of others, is never tolerated.

Levels of Control in a Hierarchy: Managers are arranged into multiple groups, with every level liable for their employees and enhanced success. Several hierarchy ranks exist in bureaucratic leadership organizations. The authority structure is a structure wherein various units are associated in line of succession, and also, the post with the most control is at the top of the heap (Guul, 2018, pp.398-408). This pyramid depicts channels of bureaucratic interaction and assignment levels and how roles and duties are distributed. Higher levels of bureaucratic organizational processes continually monitor and control the bottom levels. This situation is a bureaucracy’s hallmark as well as backbone.

Choosing a Profession: A bureaucratic organization’s staff are selected based on their expertise. This element aids mainly in placing the correct individuals in the proper position, optimizing skilled labor use. Hong (2021pp.1317-1338) articulates that it is feasible to create a profession in a bureaucracy based on knowledge and training. As a consequence, it generates jobs for life. Inside a bureaucratic organization, the proper specialization of labor helps individuals specialize, allowing them to grow their expertise in their fields and considerably enhance their effectiveness.

Standards and Regulations: to achieve equity, written specifications must be in place such that the staff understand what they are required to do at a given period. The regulations can be deemed foreseeable in this respect. The statutory regulations clarify all internal operations. The organization can more readily attain consistency and better organize all staff initiatives by implementing stringent regulations. The rules and standards are pretty consistent, and they’ve been documented in basically government statements. If additional rules and standards are implemented, top leadership or boards will be held accountable (Kennedy & Bishu, 2022, pp.113-141).

Formal Assessment: Many personnel is hired based on their technical talents and capabilities, which they have gained via schooling, certification, and practice. Administrative regulations and restrictions set their contractual conditions, and they do not hold any stake in the business. One of several fundamental concepts is that workers be compensated for their efforts, with compensation varying depending on their rank.

Inauthentic Relations: Staff uses remote and emotionless connections due to restrictions and defined rules, with the added benefit of limiting favoritism or foreign or political participation. Bureaucracies are notorious for their passionless relationships. Only a concept of public legislation, norms, and regulations can define social communication. Professional opinions are clear of individual bias, sentiments, and emotions. Decisions are taken exclusively based on rationality rather than personal considerations.

Elliott Jaques’ Perspective on Bureaucracy

Elliott Jaques, a Canadian psychotherapist, a man of science, and a business consultant, also expressed the broad ideas regarding bureaucracy to enrich the fundamental development of the organizational framework in any institution layout. Complimenting Weber’s views on Bureaucracy, Elliott Jaques comes with the idea that bureaucracy refers to the hierarchies stratification of supervisory quality of the work environment whereby people work for remuneration and are neither innately personifying nor demeaning (Kennedy, Bishu & Heckler, 2020 pp.1101-1130).

Elliot also adds that issues start when task limits and authoritative trends are not correctly implemented in a bureaucratic form of organization. In his writings, Elliott Jaques argues that for whatever job description, the fundamental framework of finding a common and consistent internal mechanism of management and employees’ effort into day-to-day duties and responsibilities is, therefore, a result of bureaucratic hierarchy.

According to Lopdrup-Hjorth, and Oblong (2019, pp.830-852), Jaques creates a broad foundation for understanding how democratic structures and moral character interact, focusing on bureaucracy. The idea of the “temporal period of decision,” which underpins most of Jaques’ philosophy of bureaucracy, is his primary contribution. This concept is a method of assessing occupations based on how long it takes for a person’s judgments to be examined and appraised by their supervisor. Performance is routinely examined at the barest minimum, whereas at the upper ranks, this could take a couple of seasons for the efficacy of choice to turn up. He further insists on the essence of a bureaucratic form of balance, especially when it comes to individual expertise.

Consequently, among the essential conclusions of Jaques’ study was that individuals and groups require their roles and positions specified to conform to their duties and those of their coworkers. The scope of work to be done and the amount of remuneration one has to receive upon completion of a given assignment within the organization to achieve a specific set target in the long run. Individual labor potential, job tenure, and pay and benefits received are all relevant factors that can be balanced or unbalanced and could be organized to enhance personnel and organizational effectiveness. Martini, Suradinata, Kusworo, Lambelanova, and Thahir (2019, pp.236-252) assert that a person’s competence, amount of effort, and the degree of compensation are incompatible; tension and disagreement arise both among the the the people and community. This conflict can also extend up to a personal level affecting performance which is, in turn, the heart of achieving the predetermined goal of the organization.

Additionally, this approach is beneficial for firms seeking to eliminate pay disparities in professions such as office clerk, which typically have periods comparable to someone in leadership roles with vastly greater compensation. Thus, Elliott’s theory of bureaucracy is a vital exemplar of the exact organizational phenomenon. Furthermore, Jaques’ research is distinctive because he considers both individual variations and societal framework in this fundamental achievement in bureaucratic philosophy. Jaques proposes a plan for any corporation and regulation of bureaucracy consistent with the requirements of an inclusive and participatory community founded on sound study and experimentation. He believes that the simple, incremental, intentional creation of engagement structures is critical for a flourishing culture. In an industrialized society, bureaucracy is unavoidable; therefore, achieving humanistic bureaucratic processes is crucial for human growth (Merritt et al., 2020, pp.434-451). Several features and conditions give evidence of the connection of the ideas portrayed in Jaques’s school of thought about the concept of bureaucracy in its actual application in the field of management, such as:

Scope Levels’ Extent Equals Job Specification: This condition depicts that the scope of stages in a bureaucracy ladder must correspond to the degree of sophistication of the job description for which it was developed.

Variety of Duties: This case means that the amount of labor intricacy varies among positions inside a bureaucratic organization with the duty bearers’ cognitive capabilities.

Tasks Equal Personnel Expertise: Inside a bureaucratic pyramid, the degree of task complexity in every team leader must be a step greater than the maximum of duty complexity in subordinate positions.

Maximum Control and Accountability: In this case, whatever management role is in a bureaucratic structure must have full managerial accountability and authority, which includes the ability to veto squad building, determine the method of working and individual task coursework, determine personal competence and acknowledgment, and initiate withdrawal out from team through fair trials.

Lateral Control: Lastly, in this scenario, every job in the pyramid must have horizontal functioning accountability and authority established therein to enhance the personal job responsibility and the exercise of the optimum level of control where necessary within the institution. Jaques brought forth various task responsibilities and authority concerning the bureaucratic system, including; leverage, advising, service-reception and -insurance, cooperative, supervising, inspecting, and finally, dispensing type of accountability and authority in a bureaucratic environment.

Ludwig Von Mises’ Perspectives on Bureaucracy

Another philosopher in philosophy management is Ludwig Von Mises, who initially anonymously explored the concept of bureaucracy to a substantial level to bring out the essential need for bureaucracy ideology in organizations and business setups. The Austrian economic guru Ludwig von Mises likened bureaucratic administration to revenue administration in his 1944 book Bureaucratic system. He believed that revenue administration is the most successful technique for corporations when the services offered can be assessed using macroeconomic gain and loss calculations. Unfortunately, when the provision in concern cannot be calculated economically, bureaucratic administration is required. He accepted globally bureaucratic administration; instead, he claimed that bureaucracy is an essential tool for social administration since it is the only way to make the law paramount and safeguard the person from arbitrary dictatorial nature. He explained that bureaucracy could only apply appropriately to organizations whose code of behavior is not prone to revision, citing the Catholic Church as an instance. He further said that concerns against bureaucratization mainly pertain to “the incursion of bureaucracy into all sectors of humanity’s existence” rather than condemnation of the bureaucratic procedures altogether. According to Stanica, Balica, Henderson, and Ţiclău (2022, pp.240-257), Mises observed bureaucratic functioning in private and public sectors. Still, he concluded that bureaucratization inside the private sector could only happen due to government involvement. Ludwig Von Mises added that whatever must be acknowledged is that the tight coat of the bureaucratic system incapacitates the initiative at the individual level. In contrast, an investor in a capitalist market economy has an opportunity to be successful.

Woodrow Wilson’s Perspectives on Bureaucracy

Wilson termed bureaucracy to be a dedicated body unconcerned about passing political trends. Wilson argued for bureaucracy as a component of a political career, rather than counting household procedures as a component of Society’sSociety’s existence and machines as an element of the created product. However, bureaucracy is elevated beyond the commonplace level of technical expertise by the notion that it is linked directly to the enduring general rules of political capacity and knowledge, which are the objective facts of political reforms throughout its higher principles (Turnip, Lubis & Lubis, 2018pp.1309-1319). Wilson did not argue for the people’s sovereignty to be replaced; instead, he suggested that “Organisational issues are distinct from political ones. Even though politics assigns tasks to management, Wilson added that it must not be allowed to influence its departments.

Robert K. Merton’s Perspective on Bureaucracy

During his 1957 book on Social Thought and Social Change, American sociologist Robert K. Merton elaborated on Weber’s notions of bureaucracy. While agreeing with some elements of Weber’s assessment, Merton nevertheless emphasized the problematic features of bureaucracy that he linked to a “qualified incompetence” caused by “excessive compliance.” He argued that bureaucrats are much more prone to preserve their moneyed desires than to operate in the best needs of their corporation’s potential as a comprehensive course. Still, their enthusiasm for work makes them inflexible (Zhou, 2020, pp.473-484). According to Merton, bureaucrats value formalism over human relations and have therefore been schooled to disregard the unique scenarios of individual situations, making them appear “pompous” and “supercilious.”


Organizational bureaucracy provides consistency in the daily execution of assigned activities. Bureaucracy can therefore be viewed as a formal blueprint from which an organization operates to ensure orderliness in day-to-day business activities. Regardless of the conditions or intentions, bureaucracy enforces duties based on procedures, thus bringing about the correctness of any organization setting. Also, it gives forth a well-defined job description format, as argued by the various schools of thought above, based on a person’s competence level and area of expertise. Several philosophers comment positively on the importance of a bureaucratic organization to achieve a specific set of targets within a given time, which contributes to constantly reminding and putting workers on the correct code of conduct in their day-to-day engagements in the organization. Bureaucracy is also a key component in the alignment and in ensuring proper dissemination of power and authority effectively down the chain of command. Therefore, organizations should appreciate the fact that bureaucracy is inevitable, as quoted by Elliott Jaques in his study on social bureaucracy.

Consequently, it is essential to note that, as a result, from the firms in which we are employed to work for to the authorities that manage our globe’s nations, bureaucracy is everywhere in today’s activity organization and business world. Bureaucracy is well placed to guarantee that operations work smoothly and to the letter of the law, meaning to be sure individuals obey the guidelines entirely, undertake body health and safety precautions in the workplace, obtain a construction permit, or get public assistance. Bureaucracy is frequently accused of being inefficient and focusing on procedural and protocol instead of efficacy, even though it is meant to assist in maintaining everybody on the course. Irrespective of one’s feelings on bureaucracy, either favorable or unpleasant, bureaucracy is here to stay. Therefore, most companies have the concept of bureaucracy as an essential element of their core hierarchical setting.


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