Managing Bureaucracy Thinkers, Principles, Models

Your CEO is puzzled. Hundreds if not thousands of articles are published yearly on organizations and management, yet it seems that the basic ideas are all around 100 years old. At a time when rapid
changes are taking place in the the work force, it seems strange that basic principles of management seem not to change. He is especially concerned that the bureaucratic approach to organizations
seems to be increasing, even as the need for flexibility, innovation and change seems to be greater than ever.

A. He has noted that each of these terms appears in recent management literature. He asks to to 1) Define each term, and 2) give an example of this term as it applies to your organization.

Scale

1.

2.

division of labor

1.

2.

supervision

1.

2.

surveillance

1.

2.

direct management control

1.

2.

Scientific management

1.

2.

Fordism

1.

2.

Human relation (Elton Mayo)

1.

2.

Functions of Executive (Barnard)

1.

2.

Social Justice (Follett)

1.

2.

B. Your CEO notes that Weber specifically based his theory of bureaucracy on the military and wonders if a military style of organization is really applicable to business and government. He notes
that the military has one clear objective (Destroy the enemies ability to resist), sees the world in terms of allies and enemies, maintains rigid discipline in the face of life-threatening
situations, and relies on standard operating procedures and drills that foster automatic responses to a rapidly changing situation, much like a basketball, football, or hockey team.

Some basic principles of military organizations as taught at West Point are:

1. Objective: Direct every operation toward a clearly defined, decisive, measurable, and achievable objective.

2. Unity of Command: For every objective ensure unity of effort under one responsible commander.

3. Mass: Concentrate combat power at the decisive time and place.

4. Economy of force: Allocate minimum essential combat power to secondary efforts.

5. Surprise: Strike the enemy at a time, a place, or in a manner for which he is unprepared.

6. Maneuver: Place the enemy in a position of disadvantage through the flexible application of combat power.

7. Security: Never permit the enemy to acquire an unexpected advantage.

8. Simplicity: Prepare clear, uncomplicated plans and concise orders to ensure through understanding.

Today, bureaucracy is the primary form of all types of organizations. In fact, many students believe that the terms organizations could not exist without bureaucracies. At the same time, the idea
that the same principles which apply to the military should apply to the U.S. Senate seems unrealistic.

Pages 449, 452-453, and 469 list sets of principles which different authors have attempted to apply to organizations.

Your task is to take any three of the military principles above and discuss:

a. the appropriateness of the bureaucratic model to this type of organization

b. what other model might be more appropriate to this type of organization.

Remember: your opinion is respected, but your sourced opinion is graded. (smile)

1. The Red Storm basketball team

a.

b.

2. A weekly study group

a.

b.

3. A philosophy class

a.

b.

4. student government

a.

b.

5. marriage and family

a.

b.

C. Because bureaucracy required top down leadership and standardization it has often been seen as opposing democracy ( In a democracy power rests with the people to whom leaders are responsible),
individualism, and freedom. Remember Henry Ford’s statement that his customers could have cars in any color they wanted – as long as it was black.

https://www.quora.com/Why-did-Henry-Ford-say-“A-customer-can-have-a-car-painted-any-color-he-wants-as-long-as-it’s-black”

1984 by George Orwell is very popular on campuses today. It is worth noting that the totalitarian state in 1984 is a perfect bureaucracy. If you haven’t read the book, you might want to see the
movie.

A chilling picture of bureaucracy in the service of evil is found in the movie “Conspiracy” which is currently available on Amazon Prime. This movie is based on the actual minutes of the meeting of
Nazi officials to determine how to implement the Final Solution or extermination of Jews in the concentration camps. In many cases the words of the participants are taken directly from the minutes.

Citations from either or both of these movies will count as supplementary materials on the rubric.

Bureaucracy is an excellent tool for getting things done. It is a very poor tool for deciding what should be done. (Personal opinion – feel free to disagree)

Based on your text, supplementary materials, and your original research, how can bureaucracy be harnessed to serve the cause of individual freedom?