Bureaucracy Theory of Management


          Max Weber was a German Sociologist who developed a theory named Bureaucracy theory of management. His book ‘The Theory of Social and Economic Organizations‘ explains the basic principle of bureaucracy. Bureaucracy is a form of organization characterized by division of labor, a clearly defined hierarchy, detailed rules, and regulations, and impersonal relations. There should be a hierarchy of authority from top-level to bottom level of management and chain of command. Clear-cut division of work based on competence and functional specialization.

Bureaucracy theory of management is applicable in those organizations where more numbers of employees (like government offices) perform their activities to meet common goals. Weber sought to improve the performance of socially important organizations by making their operations productive and efficient.

According to Max Weber

“An ideal form of organization whose activities and objectives are rationally thought out and whose divisions of labor are explicitly spelled out.”

Principle of Bureaucracy Theory of Management:

  • Formal rules and regulation
  • Job specialization
  • Well-defined hierarchy of authority
  • Supervision by higher authority
  • Formal selection
  • All decision should be recorded
  • Interpersonal Decision

Formal rules and regulation

In every organization, there must be a system and procedures for the complementation of defined work. All the members must follow these rules and regulations in every stage of their activity.

Job Specialization

Work should assign to the employee according to their skill, knowledge, and experience. In other words, the right person at the right place at the right time principle must followed in the organization. It brings specialization in the work performance of the organization.

Well-Defined Hierarchy of Authority

This principle emphasizes the scalar chain of authority from the top level to the subordinate level of management. It means information should flow (inflow or outflow) from each successive level of management.

Supervision by higher authority

Higher levels of management delegate authority and responsibility to subordinate levels. From time to time, higher-level management has to supervise them to know their performance and the problem they faced, if the problem then takes corrective measures to solve it.

Formal selection

All organizational members selected on the basis of technical qualifications demonstrated by training, education, or formal examination.

All decision should be recorded

Management takes various decisions in different situations. These decisions should recorded in a separate book for future reference. It is helpful for taking valuable decisions in the future.

Interpersonal decision

In an organization, interpersonal relations among employees should maintain. It means relations should be maintained based on position not on personalities. In other words, rules and controls applied uniformly, avoiding involvement with personalities and the personal preference of employees.

Drawbacks of Bureaucracy Theory of Management:

  • To much emphasis on rules and regulation. The rules and regulation are rigid and inflexible.
  • No importance given to informal groups. Nowadays, informal groups play an important role in all business organization.
  • Bureaucracy involves a lot of paper work. These result in lot of wastage of time effort and money.
  • There will be unnecessary delay in decision making due to formalities and rules.
  • Too much importance given to the technical qualification of the employees for promotion and transfers. The dedication and commitment of employees does not considered.

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