Bureaucracy Theory of Management

Cite this article as:"Bureaucracy Theory of Management," in The Business Professor, updated April 1, 2020, last accessed October 29, 2020, https://thebusinessprofessor.com/lesson/bureaucracy-theory-of-management/.

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What is the Bureaucracy Theory of Management?

The Bureaucracy Theory of management is attributed to management theorist Max Weber (1864 – 1920). When Taylor and other theorists explored individual efficiency, Weber looked at the organizational structure and environment for methods of increasing productivity.

Weber proposed dividing organizations into a clear hierarchy with detailed rules establishing strong chains of authority. He proposed that labor be divided along these hierarchies with the only impersonal relationships between them. The individual worker reports to a single manager. Further, he proposed the need for detailed standards or operating procedures to govern all routine tasks. Taken together, these attributes could simply organizational operations.

Central to Weber’s theory is the individual worker. The organizational structure and rules must serve to control and promote the abilities of the individual. It gives rise to a specialized workforce of trained administrative personnel.

The bureaucratic theory maintains a strong influence on organizational structure today. The primary difference is the today’s organizations are generally less impersonal. Also, performance and productivity are judged based upon rule-based activity with promotion deriving from one’s merit.

The bureaucracy theory contains attributes of later gave rise to the scientific and administrative management approaches.

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