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Critical Analysis of Bureaucracy Management Theory

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The Bureaucratic Management Theory is the structure and administrative process of an organization which is a formal management system. Bureaucracy has the rules and regulations, processes, procedures and patterns that are created to maintain efficiency and effectiveness. It is often referring to a government structure or large-scale organizations. The Bureaucratic Management Theory was developed by Max Weber that contains two important elements which can help a government to achieve its goal; such as 1) Structuring organizations into hierarchy and 2) Creating rules for fair decision making. Each element helps organizations to accomplish its objective. Main focus of Weber’s theory is hierarchical structure. He concentrates on separating organization into hierarchies and; setting up strong lines of power and control. He suggests that organization should create a broad and specific rules to do tasks. According to Warwick (1975) and McNamra (2010), Max Weber believes that the workers should honor the right of the managers to coordinate activities managed by the organizational rules and regulations.

The Characteristics of the Bureaucracy

  • Hierarchical Management Structure – Hierarchy is the people that are arranged in order or rank to be given a specific task. The highest rank controls its lower rank. Authority and duties are characterized for each position. There are few examples such as Departments, Organizational Charts or Chain of command. Every supervisor who has been assigned in the charts or ranking would monitor the working which positioned under their department.
  • Proper division of Labor – When the tasks are plainly characterized, employees turned out to be expert in doing one thing. Power and responsibilities should be balance. Each worker has particular work to be done, and all of the work are then combined to achieve the target of the organization. Formal Selection Process – Employee election and promotion are depend on experience, capability, and qualification based on examinations, education, or training. It should not be influenced by personal relations and benefits.
  • Formal Rules and Regulations – Rules and regulations are created to ensure it is reliable and it indicates the duties and rights of the employees. This rule allows manager to supervise so that duties will be completed in a precise, opportune way and timely manner. Rules and regulations can be a weight at sometimes however it a place to make best practice for discipline.
  • Impersonality – Rules are fairly applied to everybody. There is no particular treatment or favoritism. In a book with title bureaucracy and formal organizations, “It is the office that is important, not the individual who holds the office. You work for the organization, not the replaceable person who heads some post in the organization. Consequently, members of a bureaucracy owe allegiance to the office, not to particular people. If you work in a bureaucracy, you become a small cog in a large machine. Each worker is a replaceable unit, for many others are available to fulfill each particular function. For example, when a professor retires or dies, someone else is appointed to take his or her place”.

The Pros of Bureaucracy Management

  • Encourage specialization – Bureaucratic leaders prefer to have team members that have special job characteristics. Although people with the right experience may be approached to fill multiple jobs once in a while, the goal of the leadership style is to create separation of the individual expertise. Each team member is being in-charge to do a particular task in which allows the individual to focus on their strengths toward what they are good at (Lombardo, n. d.). For instance, in a school, a teacher teaches the students, the school administration responsible for overseeing all the administrative duties at schools and finance department handles the students and school funding.
  • Formal Selection – All employees are chosen based on technical qualifications like examination, education, or training. The election process and promotion policy depend on individual’s ability. It helps in putting right people on the right jobs. By this, it can benefits both workers and their employer. The candidates should pass the given exams to be employed or appointed as well as to upper their position in the hierarchy. This implies to whoever is selected that has the knowledge, ability and skills to deal with the job. Nobody will be considered simply because they are a family or a friend of a high-ranking authority in the organization.
  • Job Protection – According to Gold (2019), a bureaucratic structure additionally gives more job security than other organizational structures as long as the worker follow the orders that have been assigned. They are granted with specific benefits and steady salary that enables them to live the way of life they need such as medical coverage, vacation time, and even retirement allowance would all be included as a feature of the security that a bureaucracy can provide (Ayres, 2019). For example, the government in Brunei Darussalam provide free healthcare for its people. Other than that, the military receive a retirement pension following a specific years they have been working.
  • No space for bias – When rules are obeyed in every organizations, the risks of favoring a couple of individual over others will less or none. For instance, students are applying for a grant. There is a procedure and certain requirements to be met for the student to be chosen. With skipping any of the requirements or it is not completely fulfilled, the process will not be able to move forward. Everyone will be treated fairly, will be dealt reasonably and undergo the same procedure.

The Cons of Bureaucracy Management

Weber’s Bureaucratic Management Theory also have a weakness and do not always work all the time. The following are the cons of Bureaucratic Management: The strict rules and regulations – Due to formalities and rules in bureaucratic organization that are needed to be followed all the time, there will be a delay in decision making and communication will also be slow. A lot of time can be wasted because bureaucracy involves in a great amount of paperwork. Along these lines, bureaucratic management is not suitable for business associations yet it may be suitable for government organizations. Because of this strict regulations and rules, it is not useful when there is unexpected situation arise. Less opportunity to act within bureaucracy – Since there is a less freedom to act or to make free choices, workers tend to venture outside of those rules or laws without permission which may leads them into facing consequences such as job termination or even imprisonment. There will be less opportunity for a worker to make actions and stand for themselves due to specific limitations.

It can hamper achievement of results in time – Critics are contending that with the specific steps needed to carry out tasks and the need to follow a chain of command proceed, lots of time can be wasted if choice and solution are needed immediately. For instance, if a government is controlled by bureaucrats, there is a level of leadership, a certain decision like military defense can result to negative outcomes since an action cannot be done without different identities or authorities in the hierarchy. According to proponents, this makes the procedure to be slow. Poor Relations with Employee – The relationship among the employees is important for every organization. Employees must respect one another and be there whenever they are needed. If the employees do not have a good relationship among themselves, problems can be created within the working environment and their performance will decrease eventually. If employees have a fight with each other, the coordination turns into worry. Employees must be in a positive relationship with each other for them to give their very best at work and remain motivated (Juneja, n. d.). For instance, a long-time worker has a family factor that requires her to take a temporarily day off to spend more time at home. But if the manager rejects her request, the worker will feel offended. After her many years of loyal service, the company is still not being considerate. Other than that, if the manager being considerate to understand her important needs, the worker would be thankful.


The work of Weber of The Management Theory is still used in many organizations nowadays. It is generally applied for most large organizations such as armed forces, hospitals, schools and so forth. A bureaucracy structure may be viewed as ineffective by commentators however there are also valid arguments set by supporters. The advantages and disadvantages of bureaucracy demonstrate that well organized environment can improve efficiencies and diminish boundaries that could limit production. A bureaucracy that is not organized well can be inefficient and cost more in time consuming. If the flaws can be managed well and the rule expansions are limited to necessary security needs, it is powerful framework and an effective system that corporations and governments can use each day. Different countries run well with bureaucrats however there are also obvious flaws inside the structure which make other people to make critics about it. In any case, the reality still remains, bureaucracy remains to be exist.


The Bureaucratic Management is recommended due to its organized system of ranking. In order to improve, being more considerate is one way of ensuring that the employee to have their rights by allowing them to have excuses to go out of office with reasonable grounds. Instead of choosing based on qualification alone, skills and ability should be taken into account in assessing and electing an employee. Arrangement of contract between employers and employees would assure that the working environment is based on guarantee in trustworthiness. Rewarding towards an outstanding marginal product from the workers will be given by increasing their wages for such achievement done and responsibility fulfillment. In addition, the wages should be paid to prevent the workers from leaving the government or company or agency if better chances emerge elsewhere.


  1. Ashe-Edmunds, S. (n. d.). An Example of a Hierarchical Structure. Retrieved from
  2. Ayres, C. (2015). 10 Main Advantages And Disadvantages Of Bureaucracy. Retrieved from
  3. Ayres, C. (2019). 20 Advantages And Disadvantages Of Bureaucracy. Retrieved from
  4. Bureaucratic Management Theory by Max Weber. Retrieved from
  5. Gold, L. (2019). Advantages & Disadvantages of Bureaucratic Organizational Structure. Retrieved from
  6. Juneja, P. (n. d.). After Effects of Poor Employee Relationship Management. Retrieved from
  7. Lombardo, C. (n. d.). 15 Bureaucratic Leadership Style Advantages and Disadvantages. Retrieved from
  8. Mahfooz, A. (2009). The Theory of Bureaucracy of Max Weber, Merits and Demerits. Retrieved from
  9. Mack, S. (n. d.). The Disadvantages of Bureaucracy in Organizations. Retrieved from
  10. McNamra, C. (2010). Historical and Contemporaries Theories of Management.
  11. Sham Bhat, P. (2015). Max Weber’s Bureaucracy – Academike. Retrieved from
  12. Warwick, D. P. (1975). A Theory of Public Bureaucracy. Cambridge M.A: Harward University

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