Bureaucracy and Its Importance
Bureaucracy is an organization's system that is notable for its size and complexity, it is mainly established with the objective to attain goals like responsibilities and assignments. The systems are mostly found in federal, county, municipal and state levels of government and sometimes large private corporations. Bureaucrats are the people employed by government agencies (McGarity 43). Current government systems have benefited from bureaucracy and cannot survive without these forms of organization. Bureaucracies fall under the executive branch of the government, but it does not have control over the systems.
Max Weber's Idea of Bureaucracy
Max Weber was the first person to propose the bureaucracy theory. He said that an ideal bureaucracy consisted of a system that worked efficiently, fast but remained precise and unambiguous (Weber 223). His definition suggested that the system had knowledge of the information it had, practiced discreetness always, had strict subordination and was part of reducing friction while it maintained the lowest possible use of resources through low material and cost of production. Weber argued that every system required rationalization which made shifts from a value-oriented organization and that had traditional and charismatic authority to an objective oriented and legal balanced authority. On the rulemaking process, Weber explained that a system with legal order was one where rules are passed and observed as legitimate because they are made in line with existing laws on how to enact and obey. The laws were passed by the government and their compliance compelled through the valid use of power and to ensure obedience to the lawful system, there was the need to hire coherent and governmental leaders (Weber 223).
Features of Bureaucracy
All bureaucracies have similar features, they include formal rules, hierarchy organization, and specialization. The federal bureaucracy is somewhat a branch in the government that performs regulation, implementation, and administration of tasks. When laws are passed, the federal bureaucracy comes up with set measures and strategies on how the plans should be implemented. The bureaucracy administers the guidelines and defines new laws to be carried out. For policies that are not clearly defined, the bureaucrats interpret them into procedures and guidelines that are possible for their implementation. The federal bureaucracy comes up with rules and regulations by which state and federal programs function. They do so through a managerial rulemaking process, the rules are open to challenges, and they only get to be in effect once the legal issues around them are resolved.
Hierarchy and Responsibilities in Bureaucracy
In the best environment and circumstances, the features of a bureaucratic system ensure that it functions smoothly. For the organization to undertake its role, it needs officials who are capable of following the set legal rules. One of the needed features of the officials is that they should exercise their skills and judgment but they should place them at a higher authority (Bouie 9). This characteristic falls in line with a hierarchical organization for federal bureaucracy. The feature distinctively defines that the system is based on chain tiers from the most clerical worker in the federal organization to the highest-ranking executive. Every organization level has clearly defined and well-understood responsibilities and authority. The clearly defined tiered system is to rule out any misfortunes in the administration, implementation, and regulation of federal policies and guidelines. The clarity is also to understand that certain responsibilities are meant for higher authority and to see to it that individual legal requirements are observed.
Specialization of Workers in Bureaucracy
Specialization of the workers is the second needed characteristic for officials. It is a key requirement because, for the specialized tasks performed by the federal bureaucracy, the staff must be well trained and possess the required expertise for their jobs. The federal bureaucracy is usually willing to train its employees in whatever is required of them; this is to ensure that the tasks are done efficiently and with the required pace. The staffs are usually officials selected by the government organizations on experience and expertise basis for the implementation of different public policies. The employed staffs are needed and meant to follow specified rules of action to each job in a rational, predictable, impersonal and non-discretionary way. The specific rules and regulations are legally bound to make sure the officials observe them without wavering. The officials are known to desire higher and better positions and their determination towards that is determined by their bosses who make conclusions based on how well the officials conform to bureaucracy (Bouie 11). Instead of making judgments with regards to the accomplishment of goals, the authority reviews the ability of the officials to blindly agree to and implement all processes and guidelines dictated by the state. Federal bureaucracy involves more of the willingness to obey everything that the state dictates without question, and that is what decides the merit for a promotion.
Observing and Obeying Formal Rules
The third feature required for officials in a bureaucratic system is the ability to observe and obey formal rules. The federal organizations are bureaucratic because they function under set formal rules. The instructions state and clearly show how all tasks in the association or in a certain rank of the hierarchy are to be carried out. Rules set out in an organization have consequences, some which are intended and others that were not intended. Weber's view of authority and domination suggested that for the set operating regulations, the federal bureaucracy should employ the concept of rational-legal authority which leaves the employees bound by law (Weber 222). The rules are often referred to as standard operating procedures (SOP), the procedures and guidelines are official in that they are written in handbooks. The set procedures assist the bureaucrats in making fast and appropriate decisions because everything is well laid out in advance and all the officials require is to observe and obey the guidelines. The three characteristics of federal bureaucracy work better when used holistically because that ensures that everything bureaucratic is catered for.
Challenges and Conclusion
In conclusion, although federal bureaucracy is known to achieve its goals and objectives in state agencies, focus on its main characteristics may result in a flaw in the performance of a task. Specialization may lead to bureaucrats missing a problem in the task because it is outside their area of expertise. The hierarchal system prevents a democratic approach to solving problems because the subordinate staff finds it hard to question decisions made by their authority. The low-level staff may be aware of an existing problem within their rank or in their task but cannot contribute to correcting it because the organization system does not allow for that. Bureaucracy is at the focus of government authority since its activities operate legislative, judicial, and executive roles. A federal bureaucracy from the discussion is therefore designed to achieve a government's common goal through order, efficiency which is meant to be dealt fairly.
Bouie, Edward L. "The Impact of Bureaucratic Structure, Scientific Management, and Institutionalism on Standards-Based Educational Reform." Mercer Journal of Educational Leadership,, vol. 1, no. 1, 2012, pp. 1-21, libraries.mercer.edu/ursa/bitstream/handle/10898/351/Impact%20of%20Bureaucratic%20Structure,%20Scientific%20Management,%20and%20Institutionalism%20on%20Standards-Based%20Educational%20Reform.pdf;sequence=3. Accessed 4 Dec. 2018.
McGarity, Thomas O. Reinventing rationality: the role of regulatory analysis in the federal bureaucracy. Cambridge University Press, 2005.
Weber, Max. Economy and Society: : an Outline of Interpretive Sociology. Univ. of California P, 2013.