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Bureaucracy and post-bureaucracy Essay

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Updated: Jun 11th, 2019

Over the past, different theories and ideas on management have continued to develop at high rate due to the increased regulatory restructuring as well as flexibility to meet the customer demands (Du Gay, 2000). In addition, to circumvent the problems of ambiguity in dealing with the customers, organizations are embracing different modes of management to achieve efficient output.

Further, the policies underlying the administration of organizations have increasingly become ambiguous and complicated. Therefore, organizations have a responsibility of either restructuring their organizational ideologies based on the structural design or focusing on the public administrators and the way they should function to maximize their output (Du Gay, 2000).


The paradigm of bureaucracy is a theory of management that is centered on the organizational structure. Hierarchy is a significant element of a bureaucratic organization. The significance of bureaucracy is to ensure faster and free delivery as well as accountability in the performance of assignments.

Korczynski (2004) provided examples of bureaucratic organizations such as INSCO where team leaders are hierarchically appointed. Further, at the ADBK and CBK, the approval officers who check mortgage applications are to forward their findings to the supervisor for consent.

Bureaucratic organizations also emphasize on the delegation of tasks that every member has to fulfill in order to achieve the goals of the organization (Korczynski, 2002). For example, in the bureaucratic organizations, the abilities of the approval officers are expected to process a given number of application forms per days.

Another important issue emphasized by the bureaucratic organizations is the adherence to the written procedures in conducting their businesses. Such procedures ensure efficiency in their operations. There is evidence of record keeping as well as written communication protocol that every employee must follow.

The communication protocol must also be followed in communicating with the clients. In Korczynski (2004) study of several organizations indicates workers exposed to several memos directing them on how they should carry out correspondence with the clients.

In an attempt to operate efficiently, bureaucratic organizations do not operate smoothly and hence have their points of weaknesses (Korczynski, 2003). For instance, rules in a bureaucratic organization have to be adhered to the latter in the way they are written irrespective of any situation that might arise. As a result, many firms applying this paradigm are unable to operate efficiently (Alvesson & Thompson, 2005).

Further, within an organization, each unit works effectively on the delegated tasks to contribute to the overall aspirations as well as the goals of the firm. However, in organizations practicing bureaucracy, the situation is different. For example, the approval officers at times deal in complex matters reserved for experts leading to working on cross-purposes.

In fact, unimpressive outcomes as well as huge expenditures are results of ineffective contacts between different departments of an organization (Korczynski et al., 2000). Bureaucratic organizations are also characterized by routine tasks. As such, the repetition of the same tasks by the employees daily makes the work boring.

In addition, employees normally find it difficult dealing with the colleagues based on their stipulated guidelines and the roles as opposed to individuals (Korczynski, 2003). Moreover, bureaucratic models always face heavy criticism due to its impersonal nature that does not take into account the diversities in the preferences among employees (Callaghan & Thompson, 2001).

Post-bureaucratic models

Post-bureaucratic organizations play a very critical role in reducing the hierarchies in the organizations to enable a more actor-centered approach in the performance of their activities (Alvesson & Thompson, 2005). The organizations achieve this by increasing the involvement of their employees in their public activities as well as self-presentations to their clients.

Further, post bureaucratic organizations develop their employees through the indoctrination of shared corporate interests, beliefs and norms among the personnel in the performance of their tasks (Alvesson & Thompson, 2005).

In this sense, the employees become part and parcels of the organizational control. Interestingly, the neo-bureaucratic models consider employees’ diverse personal and emotional attributes as sources of strategic resources in realizing their general organization goals (Sturdy et al., 2010).

For the most part, the post-bureaucracy improves the pleasure accrued by employees in performing their tasks through the provision of liberty of individuality as well as emotional expression to the personnel. Moreover, the post-bureaucratic corporate governance has little aspects of conventional designed hierarchies in terms of job descriptions as well as work rosters (Sturdy et al., 2010).

Despite the successes that have been realized by the neo-bureaucratic organizations in their operations, there has been increasing concerns about what researchers call the fun side of work. Studies have shown that the best place for work is a tight work market (Korczynski, 2004). Further, moving away from the hierarchies is prone to increased problems.

For instance, the decentralization of functions among the employees has the effect of creating a more porous periphery among different departments as well as increased elasticity of responsibilities (Mulholland, K 2002). As a result, the organization faces difficulties in the offering of career paths to its employees.

Further, the organization faces an impediment of rewarding devotion of its customers. While post-bureaucratic organizations highly value adaptability in their performance and the utilization of the workforce’s proficiency, most of these organizations have continuously remained fragmented based on specified tasks to employees (Sturdy et al., 2010).

Moreover, firms embracing the post-bureaucratic paradigm have to redesign themselves in accordance to the new requirements. However, firms have failed to use standardized procedures such as business process engineering in trying to adjust to the models of neo-bureaucracy.

Even with the diminishing ambiguities in the operations of the firms, the standardization of remuneration scales have faced serious obstacles since they are grounded on the bureaucratic models of management (Korczynski, 2004).

Additionally, the amalgamation of rules and apparent best practices as well as fear of legal actions has immensely contributed to the expansion in the codes of conduct in many firms leading to the bureaucratization of operations.

The co-existence of post-bureaucratic and bureaucratic in the organization

A clear connection between bureaucracy and neo-bureaucracy characterized by modernization as well as inventiveness in organizations is evident. The paradigm of bureaucracy is depicted as a model of an organization that is characterized by the inflexibility and fixed roles of employees (Korczynski, 2004).

Further, the continuous repetition of specified tasks by employees is monotonous. In essence, the bureaucratic models ignore the need to embrace modernism in their operations. In order to overcome such impediments, embracing modernization of business operations that provide room for creativity as well as the flexibility among employees is vital (Korczynski et al., 2000).

Through the modernization of the corporate models, the business is able to change its operational strategies by implementing new ideas that involve the employees in taking part in the affairs of the organization directly.

In essence, with development of neo-control models, transforming bureaucracies as well as their ability to embrace modernism is vital. Studies show that the hierarchical system in most bureaucratic organizations encourages conventionality (Korczynski, 2004).

On the contrary, the application of modern paradigms of management promotes creativity among employees. Therefore, it is evident that bureaucracies are unable to offer the right environment for the inspiration of employees’ skills and expertise (Mulholland, K 2002). However, bureaucracies are significantly important as far as the growths of the employees’ professionalism are concerned.

In other words, acknowledgment of increasing aptitude as well as necessary fulfillments accrued by the employees is the effects of bureaucracy (Korczynski, 2004). In addition, it is worth noting that bureaucratic form of organizations management faces heavy criticism on the repeat tasks since it takes creativity away from the workers.

Further, it makes the employees develop monotony in performing a task repetitively. Conversely, an organization based on the neo-bureaucratic models embraces flexibility as well as the compliance to its employees thereby increasing the creativity of its employees (Sturdy et al., 2010).

Therefore, in both models of organization, conception of modern ways of management is vital for achievement. However, ensuring the stability between the modernization and the economies of scale is not an administrative idea in the bureaucratic organizations.

Even though the research shows employees are complaining about the factors restraining their innovativeness such as the repetition of tasks, there is also a prospect of specialization due to the large size of the corporation (Korczynski, 2004).

Moreover, it is evident that the managerial practices greatly impose a great impediment for exploitation of innovativeness by the employees. Therefore, bureaucratization implies a work environment unfavorable for improvement due to institutional inflexibility in these organizations.


Alvesson, M & Thompson, P 2005, Post-bureaucracy? Oxford University press, Oxford. Callaghan, G & Thompson, P 2001, “Edwards revisited: technical control and call centers,” Economic and Industrial Democracy, vol.22 no.4, pp.13–27.

Du Gay, P 2000, In praise of bureaucracy, Sage, London.

Sturdy, A Fleming, P & Delbridge, R 2010, Normative control and beyond in contemporary capitalism, Palgrave, London.

Korczynski, M 2002, Human resource management in service work, Palgrave, Basingstoke.

Korczynski, M 2003, Industrial relations and consumer capitalism, Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Korczynski, M 2004, “Back-office service work: bureaucracy challenged?” Work, Employment and Society, vol.18 no.1, pp.97-114.

Korczynski, M Shire, K, Frenkel, S & Tam, M 2000, “Service work in consumer capitalism,” Work, Employment and Society, vol.14 no.4, pp.669–87.

Mulholland, K 2002, “Gender, emotional labour and teamworking in a call centre,” Personnel Review, vol.31 no.3, pp.283–303.

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