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In this lesson, we'll discuss bureaucratic management theory.

This theory proposes that an

ideally run organization consists of a group of people organized into a hierarchical structure
and governed by rational-legal decision-making rules.
What Is A Bureaucracy?
Bureaucracies are all around us. This form of organization, which is comprised of nonelected officials who implement rules, is not only common in the public sector but in the
business world as well. Examples of bureaucracies in the public sector include the Social
Security Administration, Environmental Protection Agency and public universities. Among
the oldest bureaucratic structures in the country is the United States military.
In the private sector, most large business firms have a bureaucratic organization. Examples
of private sector firms with a bureaucratic structure include IBM, GM and the Union Pacific
Railroad. Knowing how bureaucratic management works can lead to a better understanding
of how government agencies and large business firms operate; it can assist you in interacting
with complex organizations, whether it be seeking social security benefits or working for a
large corporation.
Max Weber
One of the most important thinkers in modern organizational theory, Max Weber (18641920), is the 'father of the bureaucratic management theory.' Weber was a German sociologist
and political economist that viewed bureaucracy in a positive light, believing it to be more
rational and efficient than its historical predecessors.
Bureaucratic Management Theory
Weber's theory of bureaucratic management also has two essential elements. First, it
entails structuring an organization into a hierarchy. Secondly, the organization and its
members are governed by clearly defined rational-legal decision-making rules. Each element
helps an organization to achieve its goals.
An organizational hierarchy is the arrangement of the organization by level of authority in
reference to the levels above and below it. For example, a vice-president of marketing is
below the company's president, at the same level as the company's vice president of sales, and
above the supervisor of the company's social media department. Each level answers to the
level above it, with the ultimate leader of the organization at the top.
The easiest way to understand the term rational-legal decision-making rules is to think of it
as a set of explicit and objective policies and procedures that governs how an organization
functions. Examples of rational-legal decision-making rules include human resources rules
and policies or the regulations governing who is entitled to unemployment insurance.
Examples Of Bureaucratic Management
A well-known bureaucratic organization is the modern U.S. military. For this example, let's
look at an Army division. An Army division is broken down into brigades. The brigades are
broken down further into battalions. Battalions are divided into companies, and companies
are broken down into platoons

Bureaucratic System
In the broader sense the term is used to describe any personnel system where the employees
are classified in a system of administration composed of a hierarchy of sections, divisions,
bureaus, departments and the like. In the narrow sense the term is used to denote a body of
public servants organized in a hierarchical system which stands outside the sphere of
effective public control. Bureaucracy is a form of administration which can be seen, in large
scale organization and bureaucratic personnel system is a pure recruitment pattern adopted by
the imperialistic government of the past. Thus it may be used synonymous with autocratic
personnel system.
Characteristics In this system the services owe their appointments to the King and are
responsible to him. The king recruits them and prescribes their conditions of service. Really
the king makes his autocratic rule effective through these services. Being responsible to the
king alone the services regard themselves as superior to the people. In this system the public
services not only perform executive but also legislative and judicial functions.
1. This system produces highest degree of efficiency
2. It can be used well as an instrument of political suppression.
3. It secures unity and concentration of power, which are very essential for effective
1. It has no place in democracy because there is no popular control. It is highly
necessary that the public services should be responsible to the public and responsive
to their needs.
2. This system causes a wide gap between the public servants and other classes of the
3. It makes public officials not only unresponsive but also turns them hostile to the
common man.
4. Concentration of too much power with the officials and the head of administration
may tempt them to act in a tyrannical manner.