Bureaucracy as an organizational disease

Experimental visualization of narrower problems

Large organizational units tend to develop a multiplicity of tortuous procedures, narrow outlooks, and a high-handed manner in dealing with individuals and external bodies. This organizational malaise may include failure to allocate responsibilities clearly, application of rigid rules and routines with little consideration of cases, elevation of status over function, blundering officials, diffusion of responsibility, overstaffing, administrative delays, conflicting directives, duplication of effort, departmental empire building, and concentration of real power in the hands of relatively few people.


Contrary to current belief, bureaucracy as a disease is not confined to governmental agencies, but can be found in all kinds of organizational units, particularly large ones.


Successful bureaucrats are driven by two guiding principles: multiply subordinates, not rivals; make work for each other. Every official who feels overworked strives to ensure the appointment of subordinates, who, in their turn, continue the process. Left to their process of make-work, bureaucracies ultimately self-destruct.

Counter Claim:

When people can no longer communicate on a face-to-face basis, they need formal regulations at every level of the organization. The tendency to equate all forms of institutions as bureaucratic creates meaningless conceptual frameworks from which to deal with the excesses of institutional organizations.

Problem Type:
D: Detailed problems
Date of last update
02.01.2018 – 17:25 CET