Importance of Bureaucratic Control System in the Workplace

Just because you are in as self-management or self-designing team it doesn’t mean you have all authority to do things whatever you want. There is always going to be someone with higher authority you need to report to. This is where bureaucratic control system comes to play into place. If you want to be more effective and organized in the workplace you have to establish bureaucratic control to have a constructive and orderly system to help you govern your organization or company.

It’s really important to have bureaucratic control system in the workplace. I will give you an example; one bad side about having self-management or self-designing teams, sometimes team members may think they know better than their managers or their team leaders maybe because they are great in what they are doing, and when that happens it can create some kind of disagreement in decision making. So having a bureaucratic control system not only can help resolve conflicts in the workplace, but it can help set up a business structure for your organization or company when it comes to respecting the authority of managerial positions.

At the end of the day team members of self-management teams have got to respect the authorities of their leaders or managers and follow the organization procedures. The authority of managers should be respected, as well as managers should let their teams free to come up with solutions and ideas. In this one organization that I worked before, I used to report to multiple bosses, both in-country and outside of the country where the headquarter is located. There was this one time my in-country big boss was very furious because she thought I bypassed her authority; she felt left out. But after we discussed about it, and explained my side of the story, things were resolved.

Without bureaucratic control systems people will be doing things in their own terms, things will be out of order. Though with bureaucratic control systems sometimes the process can be a little bit slow to getting things done because maybe you have to go through many people or steps, but the benefits outweigh the harass of it. With bureaucratic control systems roles and job responsibilities are written down and clearly stated, employees are hired based on their skills and knowledge and not because of favoritism or who you know theory, not only that salaries are tied to a pay-grade system not by guessing, companies and organizations cannot escape to pay their taxes, and et cetera.

Bureaucratic organizational structures can have many layers of management levels and positions, from senior executives to regional managers to departmental managers and all the way down to shift supervisors who work alongside front-line employees where authority is centered at the top and information generally flows from the top down. For example; a senior executive may implement a new policy stating that all employees must have all their overtime approved by management before actually working the overtime. Therefore this new policy must be implemented from the level of the senior executive all the way down to the front-line employees.

Bureaucracies are meant to be orderly, fair and highly efficient; therefore, the bureaucratic organization usually would be very organized with a high degree of formality in the way it operates. It will make sure organizational charts exist for every department, decisions would be made through an organized process, and a strict command and control structure would be present at all times.

To understand bureaucratic control system better, let’s look at the famous Weber’s theory of bureaucratic management on its two essential elements that can help organize the human activity, systematic processes and organized hierarchies necessary to maintain order, maximize efficiency, and eliminate favoritism. The first one basically involves structuring an organization into a hierarchy, or into levels of authority. For example, a vice-president of marketing is below the company’s president, but is at the same level as the company’s vice president of sales, and above the supervisor of the company’s social media department. Each level answers to the level above it, with the ultimate leader of the organization at the top. All this information should be structured on the organizational chart. The second one demands the organization and its members to be governed by clearly defined rational-legal decision-making rules which are policies and procedures that govern how an organization functions. Examples of rational-legal decision-making rules include human resources rules and policies, or the regulations governing who is entitled to maternity leave vacation, and so on.

Bureaucratic control systems are very relevant in today’s world; not only common in the public sector, but in the private sector business world as well. So knowing how bureaucratic management works can lead you to a better understanding of how government agencies and large business firms operate, and the importance to have bureaucratic control system established in the workplace.

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To your success,

Helen Majaga


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