regulations, hierarchy, management according to written documentation (e.g. policies, procedures, and guides), office management, workers devoting all of their time to official activities, and the following of rules (Cengage Learning 54-55). Weber’s model does list the main constructs of the bureaucratic model. From personal experience, Weber’s model excludes the compartmentalization of departments or job functions. In the bureaucratic structure, workers within department A tend to become isolated from department B. Even though these departments may be interdependent, the implementation of interdependence and functional interdepartmental relations within the bureaucratic structure is poor.
Kristin’s reasons for relying on bureaucracy for protection are directly related to the
impressions that the public have about law enforcement and the judicial system. Most people are taught that law enforcement, the judicial and reform system is supposed to work in the best interests of public safety. People do not realize the weaknesses inherent in the bureaucratic process, including the high chance for oversight due to compartmentalization and the system’s slow nature. Women are socialized to believe that men and society’s institutions are there to protect them. They are also socialized to question their own perceptions and socialized to nurture the needs of men. All of these sociological forces contributed to Kristen’s trust in the system.
The system failed to protect Kristen because there were not enough restrictions and protections in place to prevent her ex-boyfriend from making contact with her and gaining physical access to her. The system also excused her ex-boyfriend’s behavior by dismissing him from an incarcerated state and ignoring his previous pattern of violent behavior. Various departments within the system failed to properly communicate in order to draw patterns and see the situation from an observant, big-picture perspective.
The case study contradicts Weber’s arguments about the high efficiency of the
bureaucratic model. The fact that Kristin’s ex-boyfriend had a warrant out for his arrest when he failed to show up for court after his death proves the system is inefficient. It also proves the system can display incompetence at times. The bureaucratic system retains power in theory, but the system’s attempt to implement that power proves that it lacks power. If the system did indeed retain power, Kristin’s ex-boyfriend would not have been allowed to continue to gain access to women and abuse them.
Weber’s model of bureaucracy needs to be modified to state the system retains theoretical
power. It is organized in a hierarchical fashion and is mired in senseless documentation. Although the system has regulations and rules, these rules and regulations are constantly being modified to fit the needs of the various situations. The model is in fact inefficient, composed of isolated components, and comprised of a disproportionate percentage of workers with leadership titles versus empowered workers carrying out beneficial tasks.
The remediation needed in the system as a result of this case is that workers need to know
they are empowered to make judgment calls and they are ultimately responsible for outcomes. Kristin’s case is similar to “The Blast in Centralia No. 5” in that many of the individuals employed by the bureaucratic system were unable to communicate (or did not know how to communicate) with other departments. There is a lack of coordination and it takes too much time for one department to follow through on its responsibilities that has a direct effect on another department.
Bureaucracies are important to society because their purpose is to attend to social needs.
At the same time, they are disliked because they often fail to accomplish their missions. In short, bureaucracies are inefficient at delivering results. The system is inherently structured to delve into the theoretical, rather than the practical execution of the ideas the system generates. The best solution is to hold bureaucracies directly responsible for results and flatten the hierarchical structure of these organizations.
Cengage Learning. Chapter Two – The Formal Structure: The Concept of Bureaucracy. Cengage Learning, 2009. Web.