Introducing Western Sociologists

Introducing Western Sociologists

Question

What are the basic features of bureaucracy ?

Answer
(i) Basic Features of Bureaucracy :

(a) Within the bureaucracy officials have fixed areas of‘official jurisdiction’ governed by rules, laws and administrative regulations. The regular activities of the bureaucracy organisation are distributed in fixed way as official duties.

(b) Moreover, commands are issued by higher authorities for implementation by subordinates in a stable way, but the responsibilities of officials are strictly delimited by the authority available to them. As duties are to be fulfilled on a regular basis, only those who have the requisite qualifications to perform them are employed. Official positions in a bureaucracy are independent of the incumbent as they continue beyond the tenure of any occupant.

(ii) Hierarchical Ordering of Positions : Authority and office are placed on a graded hierarchy where the higher officials supervise the lower ones. This allows scope of appeal to a higher official in case of dissastisfaction with the decisions of lower officials.

(iii) Reliance on Written Document : The management of a bureaucreatic organisation is carrided out on the basis of written documents (the files) which are preserved as records. There is cumulation in the decision-making of the ‘bureau’ or office. It is also a part of the public domain which is separate from the private life of the officials.

(iv) Office Management : As office management is a specialised and modern activity it requires trained and skilled personnel to conduct operations.

(v) Conduct of Office : As official activity demands the full time attention of officials irrespective of her/his delimited hours in office, hence an official’s conduct in office is governed by exhaustive rules and regulations. These separate her/his public conduct from her/his behaviour in the private domain. Also since these rules and regulations have legal recognition, officials can be held accountable.

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