Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Lines of Bureaucracy-Models of Inefficiency

Bureaucracy can be difficult to deal with. Waiting in lines, filling out large forms, waiting weeks for a response, and trekking down to some physical location can be pretty tough. Where we experience bureaucracy we generally feel annoyed and sometimes devalued as a person. The modern conveniences of this century sometimes feel absent when large clunky operations grip with white knuckles to ineffective models. Those organizations that don't change eventually are buried in history. 

You know you are standing in one when everything looks worn out, old, and dilapidated. Bureaucracy breeds incompetence and stakeholder indifference that manifests in general customer annoyance. Bureaucracy become inefficient because it 1. ignores the legitimate complaints, 2. monitors the wrong things, 3. delays decision making, and has 4. biased oversight (Prendergast, 2003)

Bureaucracies have many layers of management but are ultimately separated from the needs of their stakeholders. Their operations are often inefficient and costly leading to incentives for additional waste and inefficiencies. The effectiveness is weak and the outcomes are poor. One of the only benefits it provides is control based upon rigid rules and policies.

These types of businesses can be found anywhere but often are found more in government than anywhere else. Even though we know poorly management branches cost taxpayers a fortune to continue to run inefficiently it is possessed in seeking resources to feed its needs. These resources become wasted in programs that don't work and within the operational inefficiencies embedded in layered management and bloated departments.

There are ways to improve bureaucracies by borrowing from modern business techniques. The advantages of continuous updating and improving help to ensure that ultimately stakeholder needs are being met. In government bureaucracies politicians and government decision-makers have a responsibility to ensure that their oversight is using tax payer money in the most efficient manner as possible through increasing departmental performance. Bureaucracies in the business world have nearly all been wiped out by more efficient models.

Prendergast, C. (2003). The Limits of Bureaucratic Efficiency. Journal of Political Economy, 111 (5).

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