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Most of our work places are formal organizations, which are guided by bureaucracy. A formal organisation is the one that is formally established for the purpose of achieving set goals through collective efforts. A formal organisation is created for the purpose of making profits; that is, it is business oriented. All formal organisations are run by bureaucracy. Bureaucracy means rule of office from the words “rule” and“cracy”. We are dominated by bureaucracy right from the birth (health institution), to the family upbringing (social welfare), to school (education), to work (civil) , to worship and then to death (religion institution)
Bureaucracy is a term propounded by Marx Weber. He defined bureaucracy as the “hierarchical organization that is designed rationally to co-ordinate and control the works of individuals in the pursuit of large-scale administrative tasks”. Bureaucracy is created to guide the activities of the workers in a formal organization so as to maximize profit and put their behaviours under control.
Characteristics of A Bureaucratic Organisation
A formal or bureaucratic organization has the following characteristics:
A formal organisation is bound by formal, written rules and regulations. These rules are expected to be followed strictly. Anyone that disobeys these rules will be sanctioned or sacked. Most times, these rules are part of the conditions of employment. Examples include the time to resume work, code of conducts, mode of dressing, time to leave office among others.
A formal organization does not recognize family members, friends or in-laws. The mode of employment is based on capability and not based on “who-knows-who”. There is no eye-service, appointment or promotion is based on contract and not because of familiarity. Workers are treated equally and there is no impartiality in a bureaucratic system. The laid down procedures are duly followed by customers and there is no preferential treatment or favouritism. Friendship and politics do not have influence on the organisation’s activities because the rules that bind an outsider also bind an insider.
A formal organization is characterised by hierarchy of office. There are certain people at the top of the ladder who give orders, makes decisions and approve any suggestion made by the subordinates (those at the lower part of the hierarchy). These people are the top officials or the authorities. They control the affairs of the organization, determine how things are to be done. The subordinates respect the authorities and act based on their orders. This signifies that there is a mutual relationship between the authorities and the subordinates in a formal organization. Authority is based on position in a formal organization.
A formal organization has many specializations and different people (workers) with their technical competence fit for the branches. A formal organization is like an organism with different organs or parts having a special function or functions. Each branch of a formal organization has different parts with capable people that specializes in that particular area. Specialization ensures increased productivity as all parts work together for the growth and development of that organization. Bureaucracies officials have the technical competence to carry out all duties assigned to them. Members are recruited according to set standards and the best of them all are being employed.
There is security about wages, salaries, promotion, entitlements and pension in a formal organization. There is also job security because employment is based on contract. Monetary rewards are being paid as agreed. Hard work, consistency, faithfulness and honesty are being rewarded in a bureaucratic organization.
Despite the strict formal rules and regulations in formal organizations, generally it is accepted that there should be room for informal relationship between workers, workers and authorities, and between insiders and outsiders for maximum productivity.
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