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Bureaucratic Inertia -- Research Starters Sociology

By: Kretchmar, Jennifer;

2009 / EBSCO


A summary of some of the ways in which sociologists and organizational theorists have criticized bureaucracy as an organizational form, particularly with respect to efficiency and productivity is provided. Factors that threaten the functioning of a bureaucracy often lead to what is generally referred to as "bureaucratic inertia." Other criticisms address the manner in which bureaucracy impacts people - in terms of motivation, creativity, morality, and human potential. Before addressing these criticisms, however, bureaucracy is defined, paying particular attention to the characteristics identified by German sociologist Max Weber. Finally, alternative viewpoints are introduced. Although bureaucracy is heavily attacked, by academic scholars and laypersons alike, many theorists suggest it is superior to other forms of organization. Their arguments are explored here as well.