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Strengths and Weaknesses of Bureaucracy

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Commerce
Wordcount: 1493 words Published: 10th Aug 2021

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The advent of 21st century, the global economy has dramatically undergone changes. Developed and emerging economies are converging to one gigantic global economy; this has directly impacted the businesses compelling organisations around the world to competitive at the international level. The protection shield enjoyed by the organisations behind a closed economy earlier under the cloak of the government restricting entry for foreign players are getting slimmer each year. Consequently, organisations have to compete in their home country against MNC with vast resources, and search for opportunities elsewhere.

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However, there are numerous other factors which have influenced organisation world – wide to reconsider their strategies in the wake of the changing global business dynamics. Free trade area agreements, creation of trading blocs such as the European Union, South East Asian countries (ASEAN) and other similar existing and ones which are still under consideration have immensely pressurized companies, and exposed them to the competition. The competitive and comparative advantages enjoyed by these organisations earlier are now threatened by the new foreign entrants. As a result to survive and grow in the 21st century most organisations either adapted or withered away to the changing conditions. The ones which survived the strong wave of forced adaption have learned their lessons that change is a constant factor in the global business environment, and being reflexive and adaptive is the only way out.

Technological innovation is another aspect that has influenced change in the organisation. Technology is evolving at a rapid pace warranting organisation to absorb the changes at the same speed. Other influential factors : Intensity of international competition; presence of key competitors in all key international markets; internationalization of product standards; stronger push by international bodies such as the world Trade Organization (WTO), International Monetary Fund (IMF) increasing level of international trade between countries ; increase in Intra-firm trade ; Technological intensity. At the organizational level, there is continuous pressure to perform in the new business economy; factors such as availability of scarce resources, Value Added Activities, presences of Propriety Technologies, Management Skills , Marketing Skills, creation of strong brand equities, Production know-how , achieving economies of scale , productive capability and presence of low labour costs centres(India , Chain and etc.) and many others.

Strengths and Weaknesses of bureaucratic organizations:

BUREAUCRATIC organizations functions well and are suitable for environments which are stable in nature and involve routine tasks and minimal technological changes. A Bureaucratic organisational structure is often centralized; they have a clear, well defined vertical hierarchy of command, authority and chain of control. Productivity and efficiency are achieved through standardization of processes. Emphasis is given to specialization of processes and is most often formalized. As a result of these factors, the tasks in a bureaucratic organisation often results in rigidly defined jobs, process , applications of technology leaving very less or often no space for creativeness or innovative inputs into the system. Since every tasks, process are predetermined and predictable by strict standard operating procedures, the system resemble a machine (Max weber, 1978, cited in Beetham, 1996).

According to Max Weber (1978), Strengths and Weakness of a bureaucratic organisation are as follows:


  • Strict rules and regulation regarding work , behaviour and employee code of conduct
  • Impersonal orientation
  • specific sphere of competence
  • Continuity in uniformity of operations
  • Less impact of any changes to the organizational structure or management
  • Rational allocation of tasks
  • Division of labor based on various specialized functions
  • Membership constitutes a career
  • Promotions are usually based on experience and technical knowledge and competence
  • qualifications tested
  • limited discretion of officers
  • legally based tenure
  • Educational and technical qualifies are tested periodically
  • Prescribed chain of authority and legal compliances


  • Very less or often no space for creativeness or innovative inputs into the system
  • Highly rigid decision making system. Participation is based on defined authority
  • There is a severe lack of empathy or rationality.
  • The origination is highly regulated by set rules and regulations.
  • Productivity and efficiency are achieved through standardization of processes
  • Rigidly defined jobs, process , applications of technology
  • Slow reaction to unexpected crisis
  • Bureaucratic organizational step up is not suitable for industry or companies which are under great pressure to perform and compete in the market.
  • Neglecting group thinking and initiatives

Alternative forms of organizational development:

Organisation development is a planned intervention. The primary intention of OD is to improve the current organisational functions to create a strong foundation for strengthens; work towards reducing weakness ; address threats arising due to various factors influencing the business – internally or externally; to mitigate risk or at least reduce the exposure or damage, and all these ultimately results to reflect the changing business environment. There are multitudes of intervening areas within the organisation warranting intervention on regular bases, and also at times of contingencies or unexpected crisis. Organisation intending for a higher level of changes often adopt a full range of interventions. This would also include aspects such as the transformation of employee behaviour and attitudes to towards their roles & responsibilities and in general, towards the organisational boarder objectives. On the other hand, partial attempt in change management would result in organisational level failures. Subsequently, operating policies, personal policies, management structures and organisational skills sets would fall short of it expectations. Typically, organization development programs will implement multiple interventions simultaneously. There are various methods / types of organization development interventions considered for change management: structural interventions, third party peace-making interventions, Intergroup team building interventions, process consultation interventions, forced field analysis – Kurt Lewin, Team interventions, and process consultation interventions.

Structural Interventions: It is also known as techno structural interventions and mainly focuses on changes in tasks, organisational structure, technological processes, quality circles, TQM, restructuring and work/job design.

Intergroup team building interventions: These interventions advocate in the improvement of intergroup relations between work teams, facilitate effective communication. The steps involved are: OD practitioner meets the group leaders and study their requirements. Groups meet separately and encourage noting down about perceptions, related problems, attitude towards each other. This also involves group anticipating each other’s expectations. This process helps in improving interaction between individuals and groups; find solution to unresolved problems; and minimize the communication gap.

Team Building interventions: These interventions are focused on improving team & organizational processes, Task accomplishment, Problem diagnosis and establishing strong team relationships. The process involves analysing the purpose of team’s existence, objectives and team preparation for task accomplishment.

Human Resources management interventions: involves employee performance and assessment management, employee wellness and reward systems, organisational diversity management and many others.

Third party peace-making Interventions: various methods and techniques are used , such as the confrontation technique, Insist on exploring possible solutions, Efforts to overcome negative feeling, solving interpersonal conflict Differentiation phase – understand differences of perspectives , Integration phase – sharing of positive feelings and thoughts.

Other intervention areas are team building, self-designing organizations, facilitating, organizational restructuring, conflict management, training, coaching, and organizational transformation, cultural change and strategic management.


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