The Informal Side of Bureaucracy
When we look at an organizational chart, the official. formal structure of a bureaucracy is readily apparent. In practice, however, a bureaucracy has patterns of activities and interactions that cannot be accounted for by its organizational chart These have been referred to as bureaucracy's other face (Page, 1946).
The informal side of a bureaucracy is composed of those aspects of participants' day-to-day activities and interactions that ignore, bypass, or do not correspond with the official rules and procedures of the bureaucracy. An example is an informal "grapevine" that spreads information '(with varying degrees of accuracy) much faster than do official channels of communication, which tend to be slow.and unresponsive. The informal structure has also been referred to as work culture because it includes the ideology and practices of workers on the job. Workers create this work culture in order to confront. resist. or adapt to the constraints of their jobs. as well as to guide and interpret social relations on the job (Zavella, 1987). Today. computer networks and e-mail offer additional opportunities for workers to enhance or degrade their work culture. Some: organizations have sought to control offensive communications so that workers will nut be exposed to a hostile work environment brought about by colleagues. but. such control has raised Significant privacy issues