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No Matric: 2013303169

Definition of Bureaucracy
For many decades, public officials also known as bureaucracy are bombarded with claims of
inefficiency, unproductive, ineffectiveness and red-tapes. So, what is red tape? Many,
many years ago in the United Kingdom, documents are good only if they are bound together
during transportation and safekeeping, red string or tapes are used to tie them up. Because
these tapes are visually apparent among the public, it is always used to termed inefficiency
and ineffectiveness of public offices, thus, the term red-tapes. In Malaysia too,
bureaucracy, originally a French word which carries the meaning, rule by the bureau, is
always seen to be less effective and efficient as compared to its counterpart, the private
There are several reasons. However, you need to look at each reason before you can also
qualify bureaucracy as a week institution. Let me begin by telling you that government
bureaucracy is a huge institution. In Malaysia alone, there are more than a million persons
who make up the entire bureaucracy. The size alone can slow down movement. Take for
example, the big blue whale in the middle of the ocean. It would take him perhaps more
than a kilometre before he can make a complete U-turn. On the contrary, a school of herring
that may be populated by thousands of them can make the same U-turn in a flip of a second!
See, when the organization is big, communication channels are somewhat complicated and
sophisticated. Commands from the top may not reach the bottom-most quickly or if it does,
may be skewed. Second, big organization like the bureaucracy is also made up of
sophisticated decision making levels. One person alone cannot make a decision before it is
thoroughly discussed at different levels. This of course will take time. Third, government
bureaucracy is exposed to public criticism at all time. A decision that is deemed important
may not be acceptable by the majority of the citizen and this may end up postponing an
important decision. Forth, government fund is basically public fund. The government
bureaucracy again, could not spend just like that. Options need to be sought after and
tedious processes in selecting the best options have caused the bureaucracy to be seen
ineffective and inefficient. Organizations in the private sector may or may not share the
challenges facing public bureaucracy. However, they are usually smaller, more focused and
have the ability to make fast decision just like the herrings. That is why they (the private
organizations) are normally seen to be more effective and efficient.

Types of Bureaucracy
It is never an easy task to classify bureaucracy because they all share more or less the
same characteristics. However, Paul Adler and Bryan Borys (1996) have tried to separate
bureaucracy into two distinct types; the pessimist type and the optimist type.1 These two
terms, pessimist and optimist are of my own since Adler and Borys did not termed them
explicitly. They just called these two types as the negative view and the positive view

A)The Pessimist Type
The pessimist type of bureaucracy perhaps is built on the assumption that bureaucratic form
of organization is naturally non-creative, encourages dissatisfaction and de-motivates
employees. It is perhaps not difficult to understand this type of bureaucracy given the
common understanding of how inefficient and ineffective government bureaucracy is. It
takes a long period of time to make sound decision and to be responsive to the public
demands. Public officials are seen to be non-committed to the objectives of the organization
and public interest. They are also continuously criticized of spending public funds more than
they should. With all the administrative defects explained here, public bureaucracy of this
type will try its best to hide its flaws from the public. Most of the time, according to both
authors, the bureaucracy will adopt a coercive strategy in performing its duties. This
approach is further encroached with individual officers who assume autonomy in their daily
routines. As a result, bureaucracy becomes a very irresponsive and unaccountable
institution of the public service.
This type of bureaucracy is unproductive because it may be source of problem to the
society. Governments project would be delayed and perhaps running into a failure. It only
increases dissatisfaction among the public and as a result, the government would be seen
as incapable to solve public problems, let alone fulfilling their interest. A bureaucracy that is
perceived to be pessimistic would take a long time to win back publics trust.
B)The Optimist Type
The optimist type of bureaucracy is the right opposite of the pessimist type. It is seen as
naturally productive, efficient and effective institution. An optimistic bureaucracy usually
wins the heart of the people. Some of the characteristics of an optimistic bureaucracy are as
follows: First, it is always ready to guide the public about things they need to do. It provides
sound information that is always up-to-date. The public on the other hand, can rely on the
information provided and helps them in their daily activities especially when dealing with the
government. Second, optimistic bureaucracy provides guidance and clarifies
responsibilities. In the era of information technology, this kind of bureaucracy updates itself
continuously so as to be relevant to the public. Third, it handles publics predicaments in a
more pro-active manner or in other words they pin the problems before it escalates. Forth,
positive bureaucracy does not put the blames of public issues back to the public, rather, it
would look at the entire administrative system and troubleshoot the problems from within.
Fifth, positive bureaucracy treats comments and feedbacks from the public seriously. An
administrative system that does not have a good feedback system is always at the brim of
collapse. A good one however, would be able to entertains each comment or feedback and
response back in a short period of time. Sixth, an optimistic bureaucracy values humanity
highly. It administrative approach is based on the idea that it is serving the public no matter
who they are. Seventh, an optimistic bureaucracy is neutral from political influences. It is
not trying to gain political power nor mileage. It serves the public equally even though
regime changes.