The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts


Max Weber, a renowned German sociologist, popularized the term “bureaucratic” to describe a specific type of organization. One that would function most efficiently and thus be compared to a machine. That is a system within which all the individual parts have a specific task and are organized to another to perform what the system has been designed for.

Since then, the word bureaucratic received a pejorative appreciation from many people.

But actually, when thinking about the efficient system a bureaucracy was meant to be, it is a system with clearly defined rules. A system in which people adhere to the given rules. The system either organized itself or was designed around simple tasks that can be coordinated efficiently.

So, while people may be pejorative about bureaucracy, they are complaining about a difference in perception. They imagine how the system should work to then believe that the people in that system should adhere to the rules they imagined.

People evaluating a system in this manner are bureaucrats themselves. Their focus is on insisting on an adherence to rules.

Something to consider: The above does not say anything about a specific organization. It is independent of how well the organization is working, how appropriate its design is for the task it is supposed to do, and the leadership or management making it happen.

Simply said: it is easier to blame a system than to consider what it is there for.



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