Role of the Bureaucrat Sociology Help

Role of the Bureaucrat
With the single exception of the family elaborate bureaucracies surround all major institutions. Most institutional behavior is now
conducted by associations. Religious worship (in most Western religions) is' centered in organized churches; education has schools with teaching staffs, school boards, and education associations; economic behavior is run by corporations,' unions, and trade associations; government has a bewildering array of bureaus, offices, and departments. Institutions are not bureaucracies yet it is impossible to study much institutional behavior without studying the bureaucracies which administer so much of it. A bureaucracy is a pyramid of personnel who conduct rationally the work of a large organization. Thompson [1977, pp. 13-17], drawing mainly on the 'work of Max Weber [1904], presents the-principal characteristics of bureaucracy as (1) specialization, to assign each task to an expert, (2) merit appointment: and job tenure, to ensure competent personnel; (3) for moralistic impersonation, to see that a set of formal procedures is carded out impartially; and (4) a chain of command, to define each person's, authority and responsibility. When people first tackled projects too complicated for family or clan to organize, bureaucrats first appeared. Some feel that perhaps the ancient irrigation and flood-control projects first gave rise to. the need for a disciplined and organized division of labor [Wittfogel, 1957]. Bureaucrats are never very popular. Many people regard themselves, rightly or wrongly, as productive workers and look with suspicion upon the bureaucrat who "does no real work" but just organizes and records the work of others. Bureaucracy inevitably develops in all large organizations-all government departments, churches, universities, voluntary associations, and private business concerns. Suppose, for example, a business concern has all office force of three can divide the work casually used informally, and each can get from the supply closet whatever notice supplies arc needed. Suppose the office force grows to 3,000. Now an orderly division of work and authority is necessary to get work done; a set of formal policies is needed to keep supplies in order, along with a system of inventory control and requisitions to keep supplies in stock and to prevent pilferage. Bureaucracy thus has at least three roots: the needs for efficiency, for uniformity, and for prevention of corruption.

Posted on September 3, 2014 in Social and Institutions

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