It was formulated by Marx Weber, who was reacting to the abuses of power by those in managerial positions.
He had interest in better management practices, and stressed that there is need for a strictly defined hierarchy of management, governed by clearly defined rules, regulations and lines of authority. He believed that an organization is that one that entails beaurocracy whose objectives and activities are rationally thought out.
The theory puts emphasis on orders, rationality, uniformity and consistency.
Principles / elements of Bureaucracy
1. Hierarchy of authority
It states and shows the relationship between various managers, their areas of jurisdictions and their relationship with the subordinates.
2. Division of work
It states that work is divided into sections workers are allowed to specialize and hence increase their competence, efficiency and productivity.
3. The principle of rules
It states that rules and procedures should be followed if systematic control is to be realized.
4, Standardization of methods
This implies a system of work procedures where similar tools, equipment and materials are used irrespective of departments.
5. Selection and promotion of employees.
It states that selection and promotion of employees should be based upon managerial and technical competence.
6.The principle of legal power and authority.
It states that beurocracy recognizes only legal powers and authority to each office and position. Authority therefore does not belong to an individual; it is part of the office.
Advantages of bureaucracy
1. It eases the top management’s effort in controlling their organization.
2. It leads to consistency of employees’ behavior which may lead to quality.
3. It eliminates the conflicting job duties because activities and responsibilities are well defined.
4. There is maximum utilization of resources, both physical as well as human.
5. The worker becomes a specialist through the principle of division of labor.
6. It helps to ease the goal attainment.
Disadvantages of bureaucracy
1. It makes managers dictators because they have too much power.
2. There is too much paper work and therefore wastage of resources.
3. Employees end up thinking less and work like robots.
4. It may lead to high resistance to change because workers are not involved in decision making.
5. It does not give room to participating managers.
6. The overall goal attainment is hampered due to many rules to be observed.