Max Weber, Bureaucracy
Thesis: The main focus for Weber in this article was to convey concrete ideas about the office and the office management in all the jurisdictional areas. He has also enlightened the reader with the old and the modern ways of holding office and office duties. Weber lays stress on following rules and laws in the office. He also calls holding an office as an occupation towards which an employee shall be inclined to order to survive.
“ There is the principle of fixed and official jurisdictional areas, which are genrally ordered by rules, that is , by laws or administrative regulations.”
“The management of the office follws general rules , which are more or less stable, more or less exhaustive, and which can be learned.”
“ Office holding is a “vocation.”
Weber talks in this article about the hierarchy and the relation between the officials and the subordinates. He talks about the qualifications required to be in the office ranks. The author also throws lights on the fact that holding an office is a quest for a secure existence in return of rendering loyal services to the office.
Robert K. Merton, Bureaucratic structure and Personality
Thesis: Merton, in this article, talks about the fundamental structure and the dysfunctions of the bureaucratic offices as a whole. He recognises the subtle relation between the officials and the clientele. He also lays stress on formalities to maintain discipline in office. Merton also talks about the importance of the bureaucracies in the society and in the life of a common man.
“One must be employed by the bureaucracies in order to have access to tools in order to work in order to live.”
“The stress on depersonalization of relationships also plays its part in the bureaucrat’s trained incapacity.”
Merton describes in this article about the fact that training of the employee can sometimes fail him when he joins a different office and this way he laid stress on the fact that in order to do office duties, the employee needs to go through proper training sessions. He also lays stress on the fact that in order to live and survive, employment is crucial which only a bureaucratic office can offer as it holds all the tools for work.
The relation between the officials and clientele needs to be maintained in the bureaucratic office in order to keep the office efficiently working. Hence, formalities shall be introduced to avoid the arousal of antagonism between the officials.
Warren Bennis, Organizations of the Future
Thesis: Bennis talks about the changes brought about in the bureaucratic offices during the time of industrial revolution. Bennis clearly describes five major problems which the future organizations can face. He recognises the imperfections in the organizations and provides ideal means to overcome these. He also talks of certain tools which can be used in the organizations to maintain discipline which is by following the code of conduct.
“Bureaucracy, as I refer to it here, is a useful social invention perfected during the Industrial Revolution to organize and direct the activities of the business firm.”
“Integration, Distribution of Power, Collaboration, Adaptation, and Revitalization are the major human problems of the next 25 years.”
Bennis describes about the structure of the organisations since the time of industrial revolution up until the modern times. He clearly enumerated all the problems that are underlying in the organisational structure and also provides potential solutions to the core problems. Bennis further talks about the changes which the upcoming organizations can potentially face and also the training of the staff that is essential to maintain discipline and code of conduct in the organisations.
The article is very useful and it leads the readers to the root causes of the stability or instability of the organizations with the changing times. The author also clearly points towards the counselling and motivation as a part of the training requirements.
Anthony Downs: The Life Cycle of the Bureaus
Thesis: Anthony Downs clearly draws the life cycle of the bureaucratic office in this article. This life cycle includes the birth, growth and the death of these bureaus with the progressing time. He also enumerates all the major points in each section in order to clearly state his ideologies. The main points of his focus are growth and expansion of the bureaus in this article.
“The major causes of both growth and decline in bureaus are rooted in exogenous factors in their environment. “
“The expansion of any organization normally provides its leaders with increased power, income and prestige; hence, they encourage its growth.”
Downs, in this study, describes four initial ways in which a bureau can come into existence. He further talks about the needs that a newly established bureaucratic office requires and that these usually come from the external sources. According to Downs, the bureaucratic offices are affected by all the changes that occur at the social levels.
This study is extremity useful for the readers as it describes the complete life cycle of the bureaus and the reasons for the changes that occur with time in maintaining these bureaus. Downs brings up the issue of expansion of the bureaus that it brings power and prestige to the bureau and it also grabs attention of the general public to join it.
Michael Lipsky: Street Level Bureaucracy: The critical Role of Street-Level Bureaucrats
Thesis: Lipsky talks about the impact that the street-level bureaucrats can have on the citizens’ lives and the functioning of the state laws. He lays stress on the fact that the street-level bureaucrats are the sole mediators between the public and the state. Further statements are made about the critical role of these bureaucrats which they play in the society. Lipsky also comments on the dependency of public on these bureaucrats.
“Thus, in a sense, the street-level bureaucrats implicitly mediate aspects of the constitutional relationships of citizens to the state.”
“Finally, street-level bureaucrats play a critical role in regulating the degree of contemporary conflict by virtue of their role as agents of social control.”
Michael Lipsky, in this article, enumerates all the duties of the street-level bureaucrats. He also correlates the relationship between the state, these bureaucrats and the general public. Lipsky also tells that the superior authorities as well as the inferior pubic- both depend crucially on these street-level bureaucrats.
In the times of any conflict, it is the street-level bureaucrats who are expected by the general public to come forward and speak on the behalf of everyone. This shows the importance of these bureaucrats in the daily lives of people. The government is also unable to change the national policies without taking into consideration the opinion of the street-level bureaucrats.
Michael Barzelay with Babak J. Armajani: Breaking Through Bureaucracy
Thesis: Authors, Barzelay and Armajani, talk about the rules of the old bureaucratic paradigm. They further talk about the new strategies which the offices adapt in order to attract more number of employees to serve. These authors clearly demarcate between the customer-driven and bureaucratic agencies. The article also throws light on the role of the public managers.
“The post-bureaucratic paradigm values argumentation and deliberation about how the roles of public managers should be framed.”
“The most important recent conceptual challenge to the bureaucratic paradigm arising in the world of practice is the notion that government should be custom-driven and service-oriented.”
The study has diligently brought forward the inadequacies of the old bureaucratic system which has been scrutinized with time. The author shows some clear differences between the customer-driven agencies and the bureaucratic agencies in this study and also compares the bureaucratic and the post bureaucratic paradigms in detail.
This study is extremely useful for the readers to know about the changes that the bureaucratic offices have gone through and are going though with time and also the new strategic means to increase the efficiency of these offices.