Paul du Gay's statement
The essay below is an attempt to critically discuss Paul du Gay's statement 'Seen from the perspective of "enterprise", "bureaucratic" forms of organizational governance are inefficient and ineffective because they fail to open up and incite people's personal involvement and ideals'(Paul du Gay 1996: 27). To begin with the essay explains the two terms 'bureaucracy' and 'enterprise'.This will be followed by an analysis of the viewpoint of 'enterprise' that bureaucratic governance is 'inefficient'.Furthermore, the essay will throw light on what exactly are the assumptions of 'enterprises' about 'efficiency'.Also, there will be a mention of other differing perspectives on bureaucracy.The essay will also Paul du Gay's stance in relation to bureaucracy.In addition to this,the essay will also examine the stand of bureaucracy in response to the criticisms posed by enterprise and other perspectives. Moreover, there will be pertinent examples cited wherever relevant.Finally, the essay will draw attention to the concept of post-bureaucracy and its linkage with 'enterprise' according to Du Gay's views and then conclude stating my suggestions on this growing dichotomy between 'enterprise' and 'bureaucracy'.
There are two forms of organizational systems of governance, either of which are feasible in organizations, namely, enterprise form of governance and bureaucratic form of governance. There is no single hegemonic over the definitions of the two terms.This allows a critical distance to be created between the two.Paul du Gay is a sociologist whose key specialization is organizational research.Indeed, his works are considered as being of significant importance in the realm of managing people and organizations.He has written a number of vital studies onthe functions and philosophy of bureaucracy and public administration.Paul du Gay is greatly influenced by Max Weber in his writings.Max Weber(1864-1920) a German sociologist was the first to analyse in a systematic manner the connotations of the term 'bureaucracy' and its characteristics.'Bureaucracy' to him meant the rational, effective and efficient forms of organizational governance.He positioned an 'ideal type' of a system of governance characterised by an highly structured chain of command of employees directed by precise rules which are informally applied as compared to traditional dictatorial regimes, comprising of experts, who are mere 'employees' of the organization and in no ways the owners of the administration, but rather subsist on a salary(Du Gay,2005).Such are the features of bureaucracy as per Weber which are present to some extent till date in public sector and private sector offices, educational institutions and so on.Thus,bureaucracy is the study of the manner in which administrative agencies operate as organizations contained by a governmental system(Krause and Meir,2003).As against this,the 'enterprise' culture is characterised by a sense of belonging and identification on the part of the employees towards the organization in which they are employed, a bond of commitment and association exists between the employees and the organization.Basically, Paul du Gay terms this as 'enterprising' form of order(Clegg and Palmer, 1996).
There is a strong widespread belief that 'enterprise' perspective views 'bureaucracy' as inefficient and ineffective(Clegg and Palmer,1996).The essay will now examine the reasoning behind the 'enterprise' perspective that bureaucratic forms of organization are inefficient.An enterprise at the organisational echelon appears mainly as if it is a quite precise,explicit manner of organising and leading an organisation.It is exemplified by elastic structures, self-government and self-regulation that may serve as influential command strategies(Hall and Du Gay,1996).Indeed it strengthens citizens by shifting control and power out of bureaucracy; placing them right into the hands of the community. 'Enterprise' holds an extremely vital position in modern managerial discourse. 'Enterprise' is a monolithic concept which is either 'liberating' or leading employees; it tends to be scrutinized as strongly contrasting to 'bureaucracy'(Clegg and Palmer,1996).Enterprises allocate crucial significance to 'commercial enterprise' which is expected to be the form of any organization dealing with goods and services.They also stress on 'enterprising qualities that need to be possessed' by individuals involved in enterprises and therefore, an enterprise is also regarded as an overabundance of characteristics namely, independence, innovation, inventiveness, unafraid of taking risks, answerable for one's actions, willing to accept responsibilities and so on(Du Gay,2000).With the passage of time, bureaucracy has begun to be judged as outdated and unscrupulous as the ideals of free enterprise and suppleness have rendered stringent organisational forms less appropriate(Du Gay,2000).As a convention bureaucracy has become something that we all tend to hate.This is because it has been tagged with inefficiency, incompetence, manipulation, red-tapism, corruption and so on(Beetham,1987). Indeed, this fact has helped the enterprise culture to emerge as successful in modern times.
From the perspective of 'enterprise',we can say that, enterprises function on the basis of their goals and mission at hand without so much of stress on abiding by rules and regulations.On the contrary,according to them,bureaucratic systems are rigid,strictly follow laws and procedures and are bound by a hierarchy. Their boundaries are not clearly defined, that is, a bureaucrat is subject to higher control and exercises control over others as well. Bureaucracies generate intense inequalities of power placing more control in hands of a few; this at times acts as a deterrent to democratic forms of government(Blau,1968). Weber, a proponent of bureaucratic forms of governance states that a hierarchical, entirely bureaucratic type of administrative organization is technically capable of acquiring a high degree of efficiency(Beetham,1987).However, this view of Weber has been subject to high criticisms from sociologists possessing an enterprise perspective to organizational behaviour and management. Their studies prove that organizations functioning in adherence to bureaucratic norms are more likely to hinder efficiency than promote it. This is because bureaucratic principles are quite vague. There is a lot of emphasis on following rules thereby leading to inflexibility and red-tapism. Moreover, this over emphasis on rules and regulations at times is not fully adhered to by bureaucrats leading to what is called 'Mock-bureaucracy' (Gouldner,1954).This term implies pretence on the part of employees that they are following rules but in reality doing what they feel is right. 'Enterprises' are critical of bureaucracies and say that 'efficiency' does not depend entirely by following rules and operating in a water-tight system. Also, bureaucratic approach is equipped with a lot of formal procedures that are not only time-consuming but also frustrating. For instance, traditional system of education was based on bureaucratic model where there was centralized authority and little choice for customers while, in modern times education is restructured on grounds of entrepreneurial governance giving parents and students more choice between schools, kind of education etc. and a system of accountability prevails which emphasizes more on improving results rather than just conforming to stringent rules and regulations(Osborne and Gaebler,1992).In enterprise culture, there exists fairness and security which promotes social causes between the people whereas, under the mask of public interest, bureaucracy changes its attitude and way of behaviour. Bureaucrats are so strongly driven by the money motive that they are compelled to practise red-tapism, preferences and nepotism. This leads to social injustice and people's interest in the bureaucracy begins to dwindle(Beetham, 1987).
We are living in a globalized era. According to proponents of 'enterprise', globalization involves change and is characterised by high degree of uncertainty and in order to survive its effects, an enterprising and flexible government system is needed and bureaucracy being so 'mechanistic' is highly prone to collapse during such an uncertain environment(Clegg and Palmer,1996).In other words, they say that in such times creativity is needed which is not emphasised so much under bureaucracy, and so this makes it ineffective under globalization. Furthermore, if a situation of crisis erupts bureaucratic forms of governments adopt the approach of centralized control and this renders more loss than gains; while in a crisis situation enterprises shift the task of important decision-making in the hands of the 'periphery' that is,employees, customers, communities, non-profit organizations and so on(Osborne and Gaebler,1992).Simply put, bureaucratic government is characterized as the hypothesis that failed largely as the forms of managerial and formal demeanour it created and promoted, such as strict observance of procedures and patterns, refutation of personal ethical interests and so on are considered primarily incompatible with the pressures of existing political, social, cultural and economic milieu. This age of intense change requires a new paradigm for organizations to survive and be efficient in their working and enterprises embody such a paradigm(Du Gay,2000).
Moreover, according to the enterprise perspective, bureaucracy lacks foresight rendering it inefficient. This is because unlike enterprise it is never prepared before hand to prevent problems of clients but instead believe in providing services or cures later on to combat these problems. But as the saying goes "Prevention is better than cure"; in enterprises a lot of care is taken to thwart any problems before they arise and a lot of choices are offered to the customers. For example, under an entrepreneurial health care system customers are given the free choice to choose their doctors and hospitals. Results are measured and publicized based on customers surveys, medical conclusions and so on; customers are enabled to make choices based not only on price but also on quality(Osborne and Gaebler,1992).Unlike bureaucracy which stresses on bureaucratic mechanisms and does not confer much value on customers, enterprises prefer market mechanisms wherein, they conduct market research and emphasise a lot on receiving feedback from clients; indeed, entrepreneurial forms of governance are customer-driven. They pay a lot of heed to listening to customer needs carefully, by conducting customer surveys,customer follow-up,community surveys,customer contact,focus groups,test marketing,suggestion boxes and forms and so on. Indeed,enterprises provoke people's involvement and try to stand up to their expectations. Very often employees in bureaucratic forms of organizations are quite 'personally detached' from clients, very few employees in bureaucratic setups are even aware of the names of their customers; as a matter of fact they don't even use the word 'customer'. Such arrogance on the part of the bureaucracy irritates people during their dealings with the government. For example, one has to stand in lines for hours on end at the Registry of Motor Vehicles because the system works in such an inefficient and slow manner(Osborne and Gaebler,1992).The employees do not go out of their way to help clients even if the client is illiterate or aged, they stress on rules and objectivity and this at times makes things even more difficult for such clients. Bureaucracies thus, are less 'responsive' to the wishes and aspirations of the people they serve(Du Gay,2005).On the other hand,enterprises willingly walk the extra mile to solve community issues.
The main dichotomy between enterprise and bureaucracy is based on the concept of 'personhood',that is the rights given to employees.Bureaucracy entrusts lesser rights to employees who are often presented with inflexible structures,firm observance of procedures and less scope for manoeuvre resulting in lack of novelty and absence of individual zeal for organizational goals(Hall and Du Gay,1996).Bureaucracies believe that impersonal detachment is needed in order to secure efficiency at work. Employees are expected to maintain a social distance from clients and if an employee gets personally interested in cases of his clients he is believed to have turned partial in his work(Blau and Meyer,1987).This 'impersonality' is believed to give birth to a variety of freedoms to employees(Du Gay,2005). As against this,in enterprises a lot of space and motivation is given to employees. Their needs of self-fulfilment and self-realization both on and off duty are respected. The workplace is considered as a place for self-fulfilment wherein, not only the organization but also the employees are expected to be entrepreneurial(Hall and Du Gay,1996).If bureaucratic 'managers' have to be converted into entrepreneurs they need to be provided with adequate incentives which will boost their morale and make them think about the organization's needs first and then pursue their own demands(Osborne and Gaebler,1992).In addition to this, enterprises are closely knit to 'ethics'. They provide employees with the means to discern between truth and falsity,the permitted and prohibited,the sought-after and the detrimental and so on. Thus,enterprises provide employees the opportunity to govern their activities and transform themselves into entrepreneurs(Clegg and Palmer,1996).They develop what is called the 'enterprising self'; which is a self that analyses itself and acts upon itself in order to bring about improvements.
Today many social aspects have turned increasingly reliant on the market. This market dependency implies reorganization of individual behaviour around a single unanimously suitable standard, that is, enterprise. Each aspect of enterprise is not a part of separate individual philosophy but a part of one gamut, that is, enterprise. When an employee develops virtues,it is considered as enterprising oneself under enterprise culture. Each employee is an individual actor who enjoys the freedom of self-perfection and self-responsibility and is free to perform work by expressing emotions, pleasure, and personal duties and so on. On the contrary, seen from the eyes of 'enterprise', bureaucratic organizations appear hostile and repress the employees from exhibiting their 'Other'- emotions and personal responsibility etc. They tag this as 'rationalism' and employees lack commitment, motivation and a sense of identity;their self-image is severely shattered. Bureaucratic ethos does not focus on employees' self-fulfilment principle and this results in inefficiency, discomfort and inertia on the employees' part. Managers tend to be detached while in enterprises managers are responsible for developing the employees' self-image and competencies and transforming them into 'enterprising persons'. As it is rightly said 'An entrepreneur can also perform the role of a manager but a manger need not always be an entrepreneur'; and enterprises create entrepreneurs. Proponents of 'enterprise' therefore strongly feel that an efficient and effective system of governance is entirely based on meeting people's self-fulfilment impulses and, according to them bureaucratic forms of governance in no way fulfil this impulse and so are likely to be inefficient and ineffective in their workings and in securing people's interest and involvement(Clegg and Palmer,1996).
All this said and done, the question arises as to what exactly represents 'efficiency' from the 'enterprise' perspective. According to advocates of 'enterprise' philosophy, 'efficiency' is doing things in a right manner whereas 'effectiveness' is doing the correct thing (http://www.davechaffey.com/Business-Information-Management/Efficiency-and-effectiveness-explained/). For the business to function smoothly both these aspects are needed. Efficiency is the act of constantly striving to find ways and means to complete the task at hand at a fast pace, using minimum resources, at a low cost and aiming at deriving maximum value from it. An efficient firm is one that is assumed to react aptly to unanticipated amendments in the environment;one that possess the quality of adaptability. Also such firms should have the capability to predict changes in the production function; that is they should have a prediction ability in order to be efficient(http://ideas. repec.org/p/wpa/wuwpma/0406007.html).In addition to this, a firm becomes efficient when it is prepared to face challenges, risks and unexpected contingencies and keeps its cool and arrives at proper decisions during such situations. The 'enterprise' perspective also has certain criteria for an 'efficient' society. It believes an 'efficient' society is mainly one that strives to guarantee and ensure individual freedom to its members and works hard to improve their standard of living. Also it aims at allocative efficiency, which means equitable distribution of resources in society leading to welfare of the society as a whole. Moreover, such a society enables all humanity to partake a share of its benefits without any differentiation. A bureaucratic system of governance fails to fit into these criteria of 'efficiency' created by the advocates of 'enterprise' perspective and so enterprises are critical of bureaucracies in terms of the efficiency element.
At this stage,it is important to note other perspectives on bureaucracy apart from the 'enterprise' perspective. Seeing from the democratic perspective,we find that one of the most indispensable and enduring challenges of governments today is how to settle the claims of democracy with the essentials of bureaucracy. Bureaucracies are viewed as hierarchical institutions which are setup to achieve complex missions but mostly they are undemocratic in character and may even prove to be a threat to democracy. Bureaucracy stresses a lot on regularity and uniformity so as a result it will not be able to satisfy the utility functions of all citizens in a democratic system. Democracy focuses on control by the people while bureaucracy usually assumes the role of the major decision maker. The solution to this bureaucracy-democracy nexus is 'overhead democracy' wherein,elected representatives of the public exercise control over the bureaucrats;thus this is an attempt of reconciling democracy with bureaucracy. Talking in terms of religious views on bureaucracy,it is important to keep in mind that when bureaucracy enters religion it leads to religious bureaucracy and this may inflict several damages(http://www.net/2008/05/23/why-church-bureaucracies-have-to-go.html).The aim of the church is to spread the gospel while these bureaucracies devour all the resources of the church. For instance, there was an era in the Roman Catholic church in Rome, when in the name of religion the bureaucracy comprising of the Pope and his followers carried out corrupt practices in the church. Papal indulgences were demanded from the people and they were told that this would give them a clean chit to heaven. Later on these corrupt bureaucracies of the church were challenged and it led to the movement of "protestantism' under Martin Luther. But in modern times, the church is well managed by its bureaucracy and it is functioning effectively all over the world. From the perspective of Paul Du Gay we can say that, in the quote he insists that it is the perspective of enterprise; implying that he personally favours bureaucracy and is critical of enterprise. Du Gay responds to criticisms of bureaucracy stating that the ethics of bureaucracy such as equality and impersonality restrict customers being dealt with prejudice and stereotypes(Du Gay,2000).Thus,we see three perspectives on bureaucracy namely,democratic,religious and Du Gay's perspective. The first views bureaucracy as a threat while the second one prefers a non-corrupt bureaucracy to function effectively;and Du Gay strongly believes in bureaucracy and says that bureaucracy emphasises fairness and equality.
The functioning of bureaucracy is quite different from that of enterprise. From years on end, bureaucracy has been the main form of organizational governance but in modern times has been overridden by enterprise culture.But this does not mean that the criticisms of bureaucracy by enterprises are a one-sided argument. Entrepreneurialism inside organisations has been admired for helping both employers and employees,but has also been accused of applying supremacy over workforce in an inconspicuous,yet efficient way. Indeed, enterprises in an organisation are itself a complicated and ironic device of influence and domination in organisations. According to Foucault,a French philosopher and sociologist who is famous for his theory of power relations, power is exercised only on free subjects who themselves possess power and freedom. Also,the organizations comprising of people who govern themselves, that is, the 'enterprising self' are ruled by power which is intricate.Thus, even enterprises at times get intertwined in controlling and liberating aspects like bureaucracies.Furthermore, the threat thus arises from the extensive claim of enterprises that people have to continually endeavour for self-fulfilment, becoming a maker of their life, whilst the objective and the course of this process is headed towards turning into a pre-defined, officially apt individual.Critics state that under the guise of personal fulfilment, enterprises are aiming at fulfilling economically desirable objectives of the enterprise while bureaucracy stresses on ethical attributes such as strict adherence to rules and norms and this is not an incompetence as compared to enterprises' concept of personhood, in fact this is a kind of optimistic moral success in its own right as per the bureaucratic ethos(Clegg and Palmer,1996).Moreover,in an attempt to seek to implant a strong feeling of personal 'ownership' intended for specific guidelines amidst public administrators, advocates of 'enterprise' appear to have entirely lost vision of the bureau's fundamental civic and moral role in separating public admin from personal ethical enthusiasms(Osborne and Gaebler,1992).
In addition to this,bureaucracies are not always as rigid as perceived by enterprises. In practice they act quite different from the formal pattern.Due to human limits on 'rational capacity' employees are not always formal machines but are very often friendly and very much human in their dealings with customers(Blau and Meyer,1987).Also according to Weber, the 'impersonality' which bureaucracy is characterized with is actually a vent for giving birth to many freedoms(Du Gay,2005).Bureaucracies thus, can be re-defined as organizations that try to maximize efficiency,be it using formal traits or institutional procedures in order to organize societal behaviour and bring about government efficiency(Blau,1968).Since early days bureaucracies have been criticized on grounds of inefficiency and red-tapism.But the government places a lot of stress on protecting these funds, earning more and spending less and so on; so excessive red-tapism is actually a price bureaucracy pays in order to safeguard public funds which are actually so tempting to officials at times but strict laws and regulations do not let employees move on the path to corruption(Du Gay,2005).
As time passed,a new concept emerged in modern system of governance, called 'post-bureaucracy'.Post-bureaucracy has been projected as the latest governmental model more fitting to today's current business environment.It is based on empowerment, trust, individual conduct and shared responsibility.Critically speaking,bureaucracy was pictured as dehumanizing while post-bureaucracy is understood in terms of expansion and extension of control.Post-bureaucracy according to Charles Hecksher(1994),is characterized by consensus, tasks are assigned based on competencies rather than on hierarchy and people are treated informally and the organization functions openly with focus on customers.Paul du Gay makes a strong case for bureaucracy and is against mainstream thinking.He says bureaucracy is against discrimination and so it stresses so much on impersonality; this is considered fair, ethical and efficient according to him. Moreover,he says 'post-bureaucracy' for him is the same as 'enterprise' as both ignore morality of justice and equality and stress on impersonality giving rise to issues of irrationality, inefficiency and prejudices(Knights and Willmott,2007).Thus, Du Gay considers 'post-bureaucracy' or 'enterprise' as inefficient in its working.
To conclude we can say that, the argument over 'efficiency' between 'enterprise' and 'bureaucracy' is a never-ending one, but this dichotomy can be resolved to some extent by stating that no organization can function totally neither in a 'bureaucratic' environment nor in an 'enterprise' system;what is required is a blend of these two cultures for the smooth, efficient and effective functioning of an organization.Enterprise and bureaucracy should not be viewed as being largely in conflict with eachother but instead they should be looked upon as two co-existing means of governing and organizing that are needed to liberate or to control.