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Scientific and Bureaucratic Methods of Management

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Scientific and Bureaucratic Methods of Management

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  • October 2012
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There are eight major characteristics of what is called the "bureaucratic form." Your organization likely uses most of these. Virtually all organizations that use the bureaucratic form seem to suffer the same suffocating and immobilizing symptoms that people call "bureaucracy." The characteristics of the bureaucratic organization are:

1. Most employees blame their organization’s "bureaucracy" on senior management. They assume that management must want it, or it wouldn’t be tolerated.

2. Senior managers don’t want or like "bureaucracy" any more than the rest of the employees. The detestable effects of bureaucracy victimize everyone, regardless of level. Senior managers haven’t known what to do to get rid of it. Executives have tried many things to eliminate "bureaucracy," but the "program-of-the-year" approach generally hasn’t worked, because they have been fighting symptoms, not the root cause.

3. The root cause of "bureaucracy" is the organizing model, the "bureaucratic form." Yet, the bureaucratic form is so pervasive that its destructive nature is seldom questioned.

4. If you were starting a new enterprise today, you could avoid "bureaucracy" by using a new organizing model called the "mission-driven" model.

5. Existing bureaucratic organizations can reduce the amount of "bureaucracy" by changing one or more of the basic organizing principles, either temporarily or permanently. The steps for de-bureaucratizing by changing basic organizing principles are:

a. Make an assessment of the present state of the organization to learn how much permission to change and commitment to change is available from stakeholders and senior management.

b. Depending on the amount of available commitment, choose the optimal goal state: a modest goal, a moderate goal, or an ambitious goal.

c. The goal state will suggest the strategy for changing the organization. The strategy will range from a minimum effort based mostly on training to a maximum effort based...

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