Theories and Practices in Public Administration: Bureaucratic Theory of Public Administration

The first to use and describe the term bureaucracy was Max Weber. This is also known as the Bureaucratic Theory of management, Bureaucratic Management Theory or the Max Weber Theory. He believed bureaucracy was the most efficient way to set up an organization and administration. Max Weber believed that Bureaucracy was better than traditional structures. In a bureaucratic organization, everyone is treated equal and the division of labor is clearly described for each employee. If we are to place the context of his statement in the setting of our organization, each and every personnel including the civilian employees have their own job description that aligns with the vision and mission of the unit they are assigned to.

Before we proceed in discussing Bureaucratic theory; let us define first Bureaucracy. “Bureaucracy is an organizational structure that is characterized by many rules, standardized processes, procedures and requirements, number of desks, meticulous division of labor and responsibility, clear hierarchies and professional, almost impersonal interactions between employees”. Clearly, like bureaucracy as defined by Max Weber in his theory, Our Company has an organized structure within the organization, from the Executive Office, to his Deputy Chief, Chief of Operations down to every unit’s Person in Charge. Each position have their own set or tasks and responsibilities in the attainment of the Company’s target, Standardized process are reviewed from concerned office forwarded to the Main Officer [Higher Headquarters] for scrutiny and approval of the Under Secretary or Central Head Office, SOP [Standard Operating Procedures] may also be compared to the bible of the Company.

According to the bureaucratic theory of Max Weber, such a structure is indispensable in large organizations in structurally performing all tasks by a great number of employees. In addition, in a bureaucratic organization, selection and promotion only occur on the basis of technical qualifications. This also applies to our organization as a whole, as stated in the previous topic; there are several screening process a recruit must take for him to be selected which forms as an investment of the Company. Upon his acceptance, a fresh entry will be assigned to a unit that is related to his/her educational attainment. If one doesn’t have a degree or a specialization, the organization shall provide him with technical skills a personnel should have while he is in the organization and that [skill] will help him in reaching the next higher level which also contributes to the goal of the Company.

There are Legal responsibilities according to the bureaucratic theory of Max Weber, three types of power can be found in organizations; traditional power [some countries still observes this kind of power particularly the monarchs and royalties which rooted from ancestral heritance and lineage], charismatic power [most power came from fame and stature in life i.e. Donald Trump, FPJ, Celebrities etc.] and legal power. He [Max Weber] refers in his bureaucratic theory to the latter as a bureaucracy. All aspects of a democracy are organized on the basis of rules and laws, making the principle of established jurisdiction prevail.

There are three elements supports the bureaucratic management. Namely, all regular activities within a bureaucracy can be regarded as official duties, Management has the authority to impose rules [rules that address the issues of the society and placed as an important concern that needs a serious attention] and rules can easily be respected on the basis of established methods [plenary sessions, votes, approval of the senate, approval of the president, in short the policy process]. In addition, bureaucracy is the basis for the systematic formation of any organization and is designed to ensure efficiency and economic effectiveness. It is an ideal model for management and its administration to bring an organization’s power structure into focus. With these observations, Max Weber laid down the basic principles of bureaucracy and emphasizes the division of labor, hierarchy, rules and impersonal relationship.

In Bureaucratic Theory, tasks are divided into simple, routine categories on the basis of competencies and functional specializations. Every employee is responsible for what they do best and knows exactly what is expected of them. By dividing work on the basis of specialization, the organization directly benefits. Each department has specific powers. Every employee has a specific place within the organization and is expected to solely focus on his/ her area of expertise. Going beyond your responsibilities and taking on tasks of colleagues is not permitted within a bureaucracy.

For example, in our organization, each rank and designation has a specific weight of work; each rank has its own privilege and accountabilities. Thus, the lower your rank the simple work you have to contribute to the organization, though the work maybe a little bit light compared to the rest but it still contributes towards the vision and mission of the unit. Further, every individual in the Company plays a vital role, it has a domino effect and once the work slacks off; the root or cause of the delay can be traced from which the delay came from and whom to castigate if the task wasn’t complied.

But in the last statement of the paragraph stated above doesn’t apply to the setting of our Organization. Most of the time we go beyond to the task we are supposed to do and that gives us the edge from civilian employees. Managers are organized into hierarchical layers, where each layer of management is responsible for its staff and overall performance. In bureaucratic organizational structures, there are many hierarchical positions. This is essentially the trademark and foundation of a bureaucracy. The hierarchy of authority is a system in which different positions are related in order of precedence and in which the highest rung on the ladder has the greatest power. The bottom layers of bureaucratic organizational structures are always subject to supervision and control of higher layers. This hierarchy reflects lines of bureaucratic communication and the degree of delegation and clearly lays out how powers and responsibilities are divided. An example of this is the organizational structure of the AFP; we have the CSAFP that reports directly to PRRD, the CSAFP is the over-all responsibility if anything happens under his supervision, he is directly accountable. CASFP is the highest in the AFP; he also has the greatest power and at the same time carries the heaviest weight in the organization. All employees are selected on the basis of technical skills and competences which is required by most of the agencies they try to work in even in the AFP, skills and core competences plays a vital role, the AFP doesn’t want to invest on individuals who shows no interest in the organization as if they are walking in a park.

All employees must acquire several training [so if you will work in the AFP, at least you have the knowledge in basic soldiery, the physical fitness and the mental stability under pressure], education [though most of us weren’t lucky enough to finish college, the organization provides certain education for individuals under their jurisdiction and equal opportunity to study for everyone] and experience. One of the basic principles is that employees are paid for their services, doubling the salary of uniformed personnel means paying the life and risks they sacrifice just to keep the peace in our country and that level of their salary is dependent on their position. And do you know why officers have a huge salary compared to enlisted personnel? Because officers are paid according to the weight of responsibility they have on their shoulders by looking after their subordinates and not just their equipment but also the welfare and morale of each and every one of them. Formal rules and requirements are required to ensure uniformity, several rules and policies varies according to the needs of the society, in the explanation of reporters during our class; some policies are for individuals, corporation, certain group of people and the society as a whole. In this sense, the rules and requirements can be considered predictable. All administrative process is defined in the official rules, in the context of AFP; SOPs are the defined rules and outside the scope of the set rules will be subject to punishment or reprimand. By enforcing strict rules, the organization can more easily achieve uniformity and all employee efforts can be better coordinated. The rules and requirements are more or less stable and always formalized in so-called official reports. Should new rules and requirements be introduced, then senior management or directors are responsible for this. An example of this are the [Delinquency Report] System were in members of the AFP abides to the rules and regulations set by the higher headquarters which is passed through the review of Legal Offices, Legal Offices have their Standard Punishment Table and Articles of War that should be followed by each and every AFP Personnel. SOPs are the guides. Each and every set of rules are localized in every unit, and if there will be a change in the rules set by the HHQs, a circular or order will be disseminated throughout the AFP. Employees of a bureaucratic organization are selected on the basis of their expertise. This helps in the deployment of the right people in the right positions and thereby optimally utilizing human capital. In a bureaucracy, it is possible to build a career on the basis of experience and expertise. As a result, it offers lifetime employment. The right division of labour within a bureaucratic organisation also allows employees to specialise themselves further, so that they may become experts in their own field and significantly improve their performance.


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