Problems with Bureaucracy

Bureaucracy is a typical way that people use to organize actions or activities. The innovation of Western bureaucracy many years ago gave leaders a solution for managing human systems that have grown over years. It can also be defined as an institutional way for applying procedures, thereby making actions of authorities anticipated and fair.

The most important function of bureaucracy is to put into practice procedures of an organization successfully regardless of its size to achieve the purpose and mission of the organization. Bureaucracy is a very powerful tool in an organization and is sometimes referred to as a ‘branch of government’ because of its ability to function as if it has authority and power. Despite the manner in which bureaucracy brings order in an organization, there are several problems associated with it and are discussed below.

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One of the problems I personally encountered with bureaucracy is when I did my attachment in a manufacturing company. Leaders and management of the organization were regarded as the most important arm of the organization and the higher your rank the more important you are considered to be.

In my opinion, the most important person in the organization is the one who strife’s to bring quality and satisfy the needs of customers. When members of a team are ranked in terms of significance, other members are hurt. I suggest that every job and responsibility in an organization be regarded as important and the notion of importance and status be disregarded to avoid alienation.

Another problem I encountered with bureaucracy in this institution is the rigidity of making decisions. A lot of emphasis was placed on consistency when making products. Unless a good reason had been deliberated upon by management to change the product, it had to be consistent with the past products. Overreliance on the value that bureaucracies place on consistency without considering the impacts can result in production of poor products and dissatisfied customers.

For an organization targeting to satisfy customers, rigidity is only important if it is providing desired qualities that make a customer satisfied. This is only possible with flexibility. Rigidity in bureaucracy is elaborated by the fact that Equal treatment is fair for all, but in most cases results in unequal treatment for all. Since customers are interested in getting satisfied, it is fair that each customer is satisfied than treat them equally which might result to unequal satisfaction.

Inefficiency is another problem with bureaucracies. Efficiency is achieved when we use valuable resources to get outputs that are valuable. When the fraction is small, production is said to be more efficient. If for instance we value a swimming pool, then the procedure for constructing a swimming pool using the least resources and in the shortest time is said to be more efficient.

According to Albrow (1970), “Instant changes in a bureaucracy are almost impossible because there are several steps that must be follow in decision making.” Opposing parties can demand that the bureaucrat support their idea or suggestions.

This slows down decision making thereby, leading to inefficiency. In a government setting, inefficiency is greatly experienced. The following instances can be compared: when people complain that swimming pools are not being built on time, yet not all people prioritize swimming, but when there are complaints of non competitive bidding that allowed bureaucrats to manipulate the process, then people are said to care for an efficient government.


Albrow, M. (1970). Bureaucracy. London: Pall Mall Press


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