Bureaucratic Control, An Overview
What Is Bureaucratic Control?
- Rules set the requirements for behavior and define work methods.
- Roles assign responsibilities and establish levels of authority.
- Records document activities and verify outcomes.
- Rewards provide incentives for achievement and recognize performance relative to goals or standards.
Organizations use these systems when their size and complexity make more informal practices based solely on interpersonal communication and relationships impractical, unreliable, and ineffective. Bureaucratic controls are intended to help an organization achieve its goals by shaping how employees perform, creating accountability for outcomes, tracking actual performance, and correcting behavior when necessary.
Advantage of Bureaucratic Control
The biggest advantage of bureaucratic control is that it creates a command and control cycle for the business leadership. Decision-making is streamlined when fewer individuals are involved. Since standards and best practices are usually highlighted during decision-making, bureaucratic control makes an entire organization more efficient.
Disadvantages of Bureaucratic Control
One disadvantage of bureaucratic control is that it may discourage creativity and innovation by making an organization more standardized and less flexible. Business leadership may be versatile in some organizations, but it is not possible for a few individuals to generate all possible ideas or plans. This means that bureaucratic control can narrow the scope of possible ideas and plans. Another disadvantage is that the front- line employees may feel unappreciated and dissatisfied because they are not allowed to present their ideas; this can lead to heavy employee turnover. Often organizations with strict bureaucratic control find themselves less able to adapt to changes in the marketplace, their industry, or the legal environment.
Though bureaucratic organizational structures may seem less desirable than flatter structures, they are necessary at times. While software development may benefit from a more autonomous structure, for example, other industries benefit from the tight controls and tall hierarchies of bureaucratic control.