Dysfunctions in Bureaucracies-Alienation

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Our book defines bureaucracy as, "a formal organization with a hierarchy of authority and a clear division of labor; emphasis on impersonality of positions and written rules, communications, and records"(177). There are five characteristics of bureaucracies, which are, "1. Clear levels, with assignments flowing downward and accountability flowing upward. 2. A division of labor. 3. Written rules. 4. Written communications and records. 5. Impersonality and replace ability"(177-178). Unfortunately, things rarely work as one intends. When there is a noticeable difference in the way a bureaucracy is intended to operate and the way the bureaucracy actually operates, this is known as, "ideal versus real bureaucracy"(179). It is when we get the real and not the ideal, where we run into the dysfunctions of bureaucracies. One common dysfunction in bureaucracies today is alienation. Karl Marx termed alienation as, "a workers' lack of connection to the product of their labor; caused by their being assigned repetitive tasks on a small part of a product, which leads to a sense of powerlessness and normlessness"(181). Alienation operates in all levels of bureaucracies today. The U S Army and its soldiers are an excellent example of alienation in a bureaucracy. The average soldier gets up to report to formation, dressed in the same uniform as everyone else on base. This soldier runs PT (physical training) in the morning with his platoon, reports to his unit, and does his assigned MOS (military occupational specialty). At the end of the day, the soldier leaves work, ready to be home and out of their uniform. Just as we have those who alienate themselves, there are also those who resist such alienation from their fellow coworkers and from their place of business. The military that houses many soldiers that only go to work because they are ordered; also has the soldiers that participate in activities such as Family Readiness Groups or organized family outings. Without...
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