Bureaucracy: A Theory Introduced by Max Weber

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Bureaucracy, a theory introduced by Max Weber, is defined as being a procedure created to promote efficiency and effectiveness in an organisation. Most early theories were also concerned with the modes of creating high levels of efficiency and effectiveness. It is suggested that Max Weber's theory of bureaucracy is most relevant and his concerns still echo in organisations today. This review is an attempt to validate this statement. In this paper, firstly, I will mainly look at some of the ideas of bureaucracy such as those of division of labour, formal rules and procedures, hierarchy of authority. Using evidence from journals and a book on division of labour, I will then proceed to the appraisals and counterarguments of the above concerns and also look at the limitations of bureaucracy and why it is considered as 'red tape'. In both the appraisals and counterarguments, I will compare Weber's theory of bureaucracy with other theories such as the Contingency theory and the theories introduced by Henry Fayol, who other members of society believe that his works stand the test of time. Lastly, I will point out why Weber's theory of bureaucracy still qualifies as having have stood the test of time.

Most organisations such as car manufacturing still practise the concept of division of labour, which is the breaking down of a task into various tasks and each task is then carried out by different people. According to Mark Koyana (2006) in his book "Increasing Returns and the Division of Labour" it is suggested that division of labour is "fundamental" to an organisation and not only benefits an organisation but the economy as a whole. In the journal "Is Bureaucracy Inevitable? The Chinese Experience," Oded Shenkar notes that bureaucracy was opposed in China and disregarded division of labour. In his writings, he mentions that Conficius believed that an employee needs to be multi-skilled as division of labour restricts talent. Conficius was successful with his ideology...
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