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Bureaucratic Pros and Cons

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Bureaucratic Pros and Cons

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  • Jan. 2007
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It was only in the past century that one of the most efficient operating processes of almost any type of group sprung onto the scene; a bureaucracy. Specifically, a bureaucracy is a component of formal organization that uses rules and hierarchical ranking to achieve efficiency (Henslin, 2006). Noted famously by Max Weber in the early 1900s, bureaucratic organizations not only influence the efficiency of the food industry, educational administration, and postal services such as UPS, but also affect larger scale governmental societies such as the U.S. government (among other nations across the globe) and the global peace unit known as the United Nations. Although bureaucracies usually pertain positive connotations, like many other systematic, organized groups, they contain flaws. Undoubtedly, through the rationalization of groups such as a bureaucracy problems arise. A bureaucracy assigns specialized tasks to individuals according to which position they hold in its defined levels of power. First, this division of labor allows workers to become so specialized in one certain aspect that they become oblivious to very obvious problems that can occur. For example, Henry Ford's assembly line in the automobile industry can create problems when the "first worker" in line makes a mistake that the second or third worker easily overlook simply because they wouldn't normally pay attention to this problem or don't know how to fix it. Second, Weber states that division of labor causes a condition of dissociation or estrangement from the surrounding society. Put the same, workers feel alienated from others, which can hurt the organization as a whole if individuals begin to perform poorly. Most employees of a bureaucratic company tend to form social, primary groups with coworkers to try to eliminate this feeling of alienation (Henslin, 2006). Two other major problems that exist within bureaucracies that affect the individual as well as the whole organization are goal...