Home > Free Essays > Politics & Government > Military > The United States Army as Bureaucratic Organization
Cite this

The United States Army as Bureaucratic Organization Essay


The modern competitive environment stipulates the appearance of numerous diverse approaches to business which are introduced to attain improved outcomes and preserve leading positions. However, some traditional forms that have proven their efficiency remain topical and are used along with innovative approaches (Belker, McCormick & Topchik 2012). The bureaucratic structure is one of these. It could be described as a method of organizing a particular business that presupposes a hierarchical or pyramidal structure which is implemented to achieve the most efficient operation and decrease costs (Lindner 2017).

Therefore, today we could observe a number of agencies, companies, and organizations that adhere to this structure. This evidences the ability of bureaucratic forms to meet challenges arising from the coherent complex setting and guarantee positive results. In this regard, the comprehensive investigation of the given structure is fundamental to the enhanced understanding of its peculiarities and applicability to the existing business environment.

Looking for the organization for the analysis, we decided that the U.S. Military could be considered an appropriate option because of the several aspects. First of all, it is one of the most ancient institutions of the modern society which has been preserving its bureaucratic traditions for an extended period of time (Dan-Cohen 2016). For this reason, using it for the analysis, we will be able to acquire fundamental pieces of data needed for improving our understanding of the issue, its basic peculiarities and other vital facts. Second, the use of the bureaucratic model is justified by the need for strict hierarchy and subordination along with the comparatively low cost of its management (Koppell 2006).

That is why, we will be able to assess both strengths and weaknesses of the method, its practical applicability, etc. Therefore, the primary aim of the essay is to investigate the bureaucratic form of organizing activities using the U.S. Military as the background for the investigation. Moreover, another objective includes the enhanced understanding of such concepts as centralization, formalization, and complexity regarding the real setting and their implementation to the existing organization. Finally, the paper aims at investigating coordination mechanisms that are used to regulate the functioning of the selected unit and to align cooperation among its members.

Bureaucratic Organization


The United States Army is one of the oldest and well-known bureaucratic organizations. It remains an integral part of the state and guarantees its further evolution by protecting it from external enemies and internal wreckers (Telling the army story n.d.). The nature of this institution and the fundamental character of goals stipulate an incredibly high significance for the further evolution of the nation. Therefore, the Army is a governmental organization. For this reason, the main aspects of its functioning are preconditioned by the U.S. Constitution, Senate, and other legislative acts (About the army n.d.). Its current goals are defined in the following way:

  • preserve peace and security and across the US and all other areas occupied by the USA;
  • support national policies and guarantee their observation;
  • assist the government in implementing national objectives;
  • overcome nations that act in an aggressive way and undermine the security of the USA (Who we are n.d.).

These goals result in the high need for the efficient functioning of this organization for it to be able to respond to any potential threat and eliminate vulnerabilities that appear every day. Therefore, the U.S. Army also performs thousands of essential tasks every day. These include scouting, threats assessment, military operations across the globe, preservation of peace in different regions, etc. (About the army n.d.). The diversity of these tasks justifies the use of the bureaucratic form as the only possible way to coordinate actions of all departments and subdivisions. Moreover, it cultivates a specific organizational culture which is needed to preserve the efficient functioning of this complex system and attain improved results.


Analyzing the given bureaucratic organization, several aspects should be discussed. First, it is the concept of centralization. Applying it to the form of administration, the concentration of management and decision-making processes at the top of an organizations hierarchy could be described as centralization (Centralized vs. decentralized organizational structure n.d.). Therefore, the U.S. Army could be described as an extremely centralized system as the functioning of each division is regulated by a person who possesses the highest authority and can give orders (About the army n.d.). Again, this individual is subordinated to a senior officer.

The Army is headed by the United States Secretary of Defense who is the chief executive officer of the Armed Forces (About the army n.d.). It means that he possesses all power and authority over the organization. The rest of officers are subordinated to him. This pattern evidences the adherence to the wholly formalized model which is introduced to ensure that all orders will be accomplished and the most important tasks completed.

Therefore, the concept of formalization could also be applied to the chosen organization. It could be defined as the extent to which activities and procedures are governed by particular rules and regulations (Formalization n.d.). Regarding the U.S. Army, the functioning of all its officers, common soldiers, and other members is regulated by the Statute which is a set of duties, responsibilities, and procedures needed to establish a particular framework for the efficient cooperation among all members (About the army n.d.).

Moreover, if the rules outlined in the Statute are disregarded or violated, an individual responsible for this action will be provided with a severe punishment as it is considered a serious disruption (About the army n.d.). Thus, the given formalization is introduced with the main purpose to preserve the unique environment and emphasize the crucial character of duties and responsibilities that should be observed by every person belonging to the U.S. Army.

Delving into the structure of the organization, it is also critical to mention its increased complexity that is stipulated by the high diversity of tasks and goals which exist at the moment. In general, the complexity of the organization could be measured by the number of functions and divisions possessed by it (Tulgan 2014). Regarding the U.S. Army, there are multiple functions it has to perform in different regions. Moreover, there are numerous divisions like Army Forces, U.S. Air Force, Navy, etc. that should also be managed to guarantee improved outcomes and preservation of increased efficiency (Powers 2017). For this reason, the complexity of the system demands the introduction of a bureaucratic form of management to monitor all crucial aspects of its functioning and ensure accomplishment of the primary goals.

In general, the above-mentioned aspects could be used to characterize the system used in the U.S. Army as the bureaucratic one. First, it rests on the strict hierarchy that exists at all layers. Second, centralization, formalization, and increased complexity peculiar to the system are main aspects of the bureaucratic form of management as they help to attain enhanced results strictly outlining duties, responsibilities, and goals (Centralized vs. decentralized organizational structure n.d.). Under these conditions, the U.S. Army could be considered a perfect example of the bureaucratic organization which functions in the modern setting and benefits from the use of mechanisms peculiar to this form of management and preserves patterns that has been peculiar to it for a long period of time.


Another aspect fundamental for the functioning of any form of management is coordination mechanisms used by individuals possessing the top authority to distribute tasks and monitor their accomplishment and to preserve existing subordination patterns needed for the further systems functioning. Several coordination mechanisms could be used depending on the primary goals of an organization, its structure, centralization, and formalization patterns (Daft 2015).

As we have already stated, the U.S. Army has a strict hierarchy and subordination which rest on the system of military ranks (U.S. military ranks n.d.). It means that the rank of an officer provides him/her with authority to give orders to officers beneath. One of the main rules of the U.S. military forces is the doubtless trust to an officer and his/her orders. For this reason, the coordination rests on hierarchy and centralization of authority along with a particular rank system.

Under these conditions, the mechanisms used to align improved coordination and cooperation in the U.S. Army could be labeled as a bureaucratic coordination which uses a standardization of skills and knowledge to reach enhanced results through specified training and education (Six coordination mechanisms n.d.). All soldiers and officers are trained in such a way that they know the main hierarchical patterns and have a clear image of the scope of their activities and authorities.

The use of the given approach helps to reduce the time needed to understand a particular order and accomplish it as an individual acts half-automatically because of acquired behavioral patterns (About the army n.d.).

There are numerous examples of how it works in practice. For instance, in field conditions, time plays a fundamental role in the overall success of the whole operation. The use of hierarchy and standardization of skills help to act more effectively in emergent situations. There is another example. A common soldier might not possess the information needed to make a right decision. However, an officer might possess enhanced competence, and his/her orders will help to attain improved results (United Nations 2014). That is why the use of the above-mentioned practice becomes crucial for the military sector.

Moreover, the U.S. Army has never used other mechanisms to organize its functioning and attain success. This fact evidences an outstanding efficiency of the bureaucratic form of management regarding the unique environment peculiar to the majority of operations performed by the military forces.


Altogether, the U.S. Military could be considered a perfect example of the bureaucratic organization which uses the given form to attain the increased efficiency along with the significant cost reduction. It is highly centralized and formalized to guarantee that all individuals belonging to the system will appropriately perform their functions. Additionally, there is a strict hierarchy serving as the basis for the specific coordination organized through a severe training of the staff. Under these conditions, the given paper demonstrates crucial peculiarities of the system of this sort and demonstrates its high efficiency regarding the need for improved results and low costs.

Reference List

n.d. Web.

Annosi, M & Brunetta, F 2017, New organizational forms, controls, and institutions: understanding the tensions in ‘post-bureaucratic’ organizations, Palgrave Macmillan, New York, NY.

Belker, L, McCormick, J & Topchik, G 2012, The first-time manager, AMACOM, New York, NY.

n.d. Web.

Daft, R 2015, Management, South-Western College Pub, Cincinnati,OH.

Dan-Cohen, M 2016, Rights, persons, and organizations: a legal theory for bureaucratic society, Quid Pro, New Orlean, LA.

Formalization n.d. Web.

Koppell, J 2006, The politics of uasi-government: hybrid organizations and the dynamics of bureaucratic control (theories of Institutional Design), Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.

Lindner, B 2017, Tear the page out: what it takes to innovate in a bureaucratic organization, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, New York, NY.

Powers, R 2017, . Web.

Six coordination mechanisms n.d. Web.

n.d. Web.

Tulgan, B 2014, The 27 challenges managers face: step-by-step solutions to (nearly) all of your management problems, Jossey-Bass, New York, NY.

United Nations 2014, A guide for the military. Web.

n.d. Web.

Who we are n.d. Web.

This essay on The United States Army as Bureaucratic Organization was written and submitted by your fellow student. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.
Removal Request
If you are the copyright owner of this paper and no longer wish to have your work published on IvyPanda.
Request the removal

Need a custom Essay sample written from scratch by
professional specifically for you?

Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar

301 certified writers online

Cite This paper

Select a referencing style:


IvyPanda. (2020, November 5). The United States Army as Bureaucratic Organization. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-united-states-army-as-bureaucratic-organization/

Work Cited

"The United States Army as Bureaucratic Organization." IvyPanda, 5 Nov. 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/the-united-states-army-as-bureaucratic-organization/.

1. IvyPanda. "The United States Army as Bureaucratic Organization." November 5, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-united-states-army-as-bureaucratic-organization/.


IvyPanda. "The United States Army as Bureaucratic Organization." November 5, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-united-states-army-as-bureaucratic-organization/.


IvyPanda. 2020. "The United States Army as Bureaucratic Organization." November 5, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-united-states-army-as-bureaucratic-organization/.


IvyPanda. (2020) 'The United States Army as Bureaucratic Organization'. 5 November.

More related papers