Dysfunctional Aspects

Bureaucracies, particularly in large complex organizations, may have unintended consequences which are often referred to as dysfunctional aspects of bureaucracy. For example, A Commercial real estate or shopping centers electric cabling plan or oceanfront luxury condos layouts require a complex planning. Over the years, there has been much disenchantment with the functioning of bureaucracies which created many antagonists of bureaucracy who prophesied about its gradual demise. The skeptics optimism however, did not fructify. None could propound workable alternatives.

 

As a result, bureaucracies survived notwithstanding the myriad dysfunctional aspects. It is not possible here to list all the dysfunctional functions caused by what Thompson calls as ‘bureaucratic’ behavior. There is also no agreement on whether all these are really counterproductive, because some of them at least are perceived at times as disguised blessing. The more prominent among the dysfunctional aspects include the following: 

  • Rigidity
  • Impersonality
  • Displacement of Objectives
  • Compartmentalization of Activities
  • Empire building
  • Red Tape
             

Rigidity
Critics of bureaucracy argue that rules are often and inflexible, encouraging status quoism and breeding resistance to change. Compliance with rules may provide the cover to avoid responsibility for failures. 

Impersonality
Bureaucracies emphasise mechanical way of doing things, giving primacy to organizational rules and regulations than individual’s needs and emotions. Contractual obligations receive primacy, relegating human relations to a back seat. The office a person holds is important than the person per se.

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