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Achievement of Modern Bureaucracies - Essay Example

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Summary to essay on topic "Achievement of Modern Bureaucracies"
“Bureaucracy” has become a negative term equated with red tape, paper shuffling, duplication of effort, waste and inefficiency, impersonality, senseless regulations, and unresponsiveness to the need of “real” people. …
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Achievement of Modern Bureaucracies
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Download file "Achievement of Modern Bureaucracies" to see previous pages... In an extreme form bureaucratic organizations fail to do what they are supposed to because rules and regulations are applied so rigidly that employees lose sight of what their job is. Bureaucracy, as a sociological concept, was originally developed by Max Weber, one of the first sociologists to consider the role of individuals in relation to the structural determinants of social action.
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Much of his work was concerned with the notion of “rationality”, which he used to explain the development of Western society which was increasingly based on science and calculation. Bureaucracy, combined with the growth of large organizations throughout the nineteenth century, led Weber to conclude that the decisive reason for the advance of bureaucratic organization was its purely technical superiority over any other form of organization. In short, it was a description of an ideal type of organization. Not ideal in the sense that it was perfect or one that should be aimed for, rather that its structure contained specific elements that characterized it as a bureaucracy and which were necessary to manage the organizations of the day.
This occurs in part because public bureaucracies sometimes perceive themselves as guardians of the national interest: there is the idea that they embody ideals that transcend the policies of particular government: they can develop a character of their own and become set in their ways and difficult to change. In these circumstances professionals can be more concerned with their own survival than with the broader aims of providing for needs of the consumers of their service. This can be observed in the barriers that can exist between the different wards and departments and the lack of co-operation that ensues.
The study of spatial separation is called proxemics; it involves the exploration of different practices and feelings about interpersonal space within and across cultures. In the United States, general practice allows intimate communications between close friends to occur at very short range. Conversations with acquaintances are often held at a 3-4 feet personal distance. Work-related discussions between colleagues may occur at a social distance of 4 to 12 feet with more impersonal and formal conversations in public occurring at even greater distances.
Not only it is important to know and observe common practice with regard to the nature of the underlying relationships (intimate, friendly, work-related or casual) between two parties; it is also imperative that these practices be adapted for cultural differences. In some societies, sharply different practices prevail. For example, Latin America and Asian cultures generally favor closer distances for personal conversations; and workers in Arab countries often maintain extremely close contact. Therefore, sender should be aware of cultural norms and the receiver's preferences, and make an effort to understand and adapt to them.
Bureaucratic Power
Political conflict does not end after a law has been passed by Congress and signed by the president. The arena of conflict merely shifts from Capitol Hill and the White House to the bureaucracy - to the myriad departments, agencies, and bureaus of the federal executive branch that implement the law. Despite the popular impression that policy is decided by the president and Congress and merely implemented by the federal bureaucracy, in fact policy is also made by the bureaucracy. Indeed, it is often remarked that "implementation is the continuation of policy making by other means." The Washington bureaucracy is a major base of power in the American system of government - independent of Congress, the president, the courts, and the people. Indeed, controlling the bureaucracy has become a major challenge of democratic ...Download file "Achievement of Modern Bureaucracies" to see next pagesRead More
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