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Yassir Arafat MAN 20055: Organizational behavior 18.04.2011
Keywords: Post-bureaucracy, Bureaucracy, Organizational behavior.
Commencing with a succinct explanation about what the essay will include, the introductory part of this paper will define the terminologies that shape and characterize the topic that will be discussed in a critical analysis manner in the body part of the essay. Organizational behavior, Bureaucracy and post-bureaucracy being the two stipulations under analysis-that sparked diverse discourses by different scholars and critiques-are known to have a very significant role in explaining what organizational behavior is all about. Moreover, be it governmental, nongovernmental (NGO) or a private corporation, the issues of bureaucracy and post-bureaucracy affects them from every angle possible, socially, economically, politically and culturally.
The concept of organizational behavior has been defined by distinct scholars with similar and different perceptions of the notion. It has thus been defined by (Griffin & Moorehead 2010, 2007, 3) that, ³organizational behavior (OB) is the study of human behavior in organizational settings, of the interface between human behavior and the organization, and the organization itself´. From the definition, the interrelation between people and organizations is vivid; for without human being, no organizations will practically exist and vice versa. Also, the idea of the simultaneous existence of the two--people and organizations²is with no doubt the catalyst to the birth of the concept of organizational behavior.
Moving from the term organizational behavior (OB); Max Webber a prolific ³«German sociologist and philosopher´ (Buchanan & Huczynsky 2004, p. 504), who is also well known as the father of bureaucracy is said to have popularized the term bureaucracy by relating it to distinct societal and authoritative milieus. In relation to Webber¶s assertion of the concept, bureaucracy as the µlegal-rational type of authority¶, is defined as ³«a form of organization structure that is characterized by a specialization of labour, a specific authority hierarchy, a formal set of rules, and a rigid promotion and selection criteria.´ (Buchanan & Huczynsky 2004, p. 505).
Succinctly, the above definition evidently exposes the fact that, autonomously (bureaucracy) has in many years been implemented by various organizations-private and governmental-with different backgrounds in managing and structuring the constituents of their respectful work places, and the concept has continued shaping the fluid flow of hierarchical forms of task performing within these organizations. Although bureaucracy has been utilized in many organizations for so many years, it started losing possession in some organizations notably in this current era whereby the blooming of new organizations with new cultures is palpable.
Notwithstanding, the notion of post-bureaucracy viewed as a solution to the problems of bureaucracy by many scholars and organizational critiques. Charles Heckscher as one of the pro post-bureaucratic notion scholars introduced post-bureaucracy as an ideal type and parallel to Webber¶s bureaucratic ideal type to the society by illustrating that, a ³post-bureaucratic organization (PBO) is characterized by consensus building dialogue rather than rule following, a consensus based upon influence structures which are at least partially independent of formal hierarchy.´ ( Grey & Garsten 2003, p.236).
Despite, due to the characteristics of bureaucracy that are said to contribute in arising problems such as ³«poor employee motivation, producer focus and inertia´, of which these problems are considered by many organizational behavior critiques and scholars as hindrances to fluid organizational movements and performances, are thus replaced by an ideal manner through which organizations are to be modeled which is post-bureaucracy. This notion of postbureaucracy is cocooned with characteristics that are said to be advanced and trendy to the contemporary world public. Such characteristics being, ³trust, empowerment, personal treatment and shared responsibility (Knights & Willmott 2007, 480)
Since everything in this world has fallen under globalization, or in other word globalized, work places are also altering their organizing ways thus being a supporting factor of post-bureaucracy theory and its coming to the limelight. For this matter, behavioral changes amongst workers of post-bureaucratic organizations are vivid. The increase of multiethnic and female employees as managers and normal workers has raised and strengthened the issue of post-bureaucratic model and of which has become significant factors towards organizational behavioral changes.
Also, one of the behaviors obtained from a bureaucratic organizing structure is selfishness. Officials-mainly superiors-of certain organizations hitherto (notably public institutions per se) are said to have a behaviour of inherently preserving their expertise from their counterparts. These deeds as noted by Webber are considered in one of his discussions of bureaucracy as a ³major obstacle´ towards progress and good performance of an organization therefore leading whereby individuals of high rank particularly, ³«keep their knowledge and intentions secret.´ (Bendix & Roth 1971, p. 147) This aspect of self-centeredness by these higher-echelon officials of such organization is a way of them evading ³accountability´ of whatever they commit within their esteemed institutions. (p. 147). For this matter, organizational behaviours get dented by the behavious of few that might lead to immorality from other employees specifically subsidiary workers who notably in this contemporary era believe in sharing of information and expertise amongst members of organizations. The expertise sharing factor is perceived by many organizational behaviour scholars as post-bureaucratic. Thus bringing into account the shared responsibility factor of post-bureaucracy as an ideal alternative to the selfish behavious of bureaucratic official.
Moreover, ³contingency approach´ as a theory can be viewed as suitable and supportive to postbureaucracy due to the fact that the approach has demonstrated some characteristics listed by Richard Whittington (2002) such as: technology, environment, size, diversification and internationalization; that can be perceived as challenging to bureaucracy (Buchanan & Huczynsky 2004, p. 520). It is also in the case of µcontingency and organizational size¶ that organizations tend to undergo changes in day to day life in the manner of goal setting, the system
of control it utilizes and the novelty echelon consequently imposing an impact to their structures. (p.529).
In proving the notion of bureaucracy as problematic towards distinct social sectors contemporarily. A survey conducted on social workers by Ofstead in England in 2010 showed that, workers of public organizations dealing with serving young people fail to meet their client¶s demands, their main reason being work overload due to too much paperwork and entering information and data in computers. This bureaucratic act has led to catastrophic incidents, death of two children being among the crises that caused public tension and scrutiny on the ways these organizations function (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-10788737).
In addition to the above argument, post-bureaucratic ways of organizing institutions can be contemplated as perfect remedy of socially effective and sensitive issues like this of England. Personal treatment as a factor that defines post-bureaucracy is inevitable in situations like this and that is why post-bureaucratic organizations of the present era implement ³grapevine, emailing, text-messaging, video conferencing´ for the mainly publics and ³intranet´ (for internal organizational employees) and ³extranet links´ (for internal employees and specific µsuppliers, customers and strategic partners¶) as communicative strategies-although informal in nature-to curb problems of this caliber. The cases of IBM computers and GM (General Motors) are clear example of the utilization of such communication approaches as exemplified by (Robbins & Judge 2007, p. 375-379).
Notwithstanding, the many criticisms about bureaucracy, and its replacement by postbureaucracy in many ways and in distinct organizations, still some of many organizations notably government affiliated and some private utilize bureaucratic stratagem and for that the claim by Webber that bureaucracy ³is indispensable to the modern world´ (Swedberg 2005, p. 18) proves futile to some extent the assertion that post-bureaucracy is out-fashioning bureaucracy in every organization. Although post-bureaucratic characteristics are said to be taking over
rapidly; in this case, still some features of bureaucracy are evident and unavoidable proving right Webber¶s assertion. Moreover, since the long chain of hierarchies-or the traditional private and governmental- bureaucratic manners are envisaged by some organizational behavior critiques as old fashioned and ³morally disabling. The inevitability of post-bureaucracy as a model of organizational behaviour is valid. Teamwork, flexibility, freedom and autonomy are what postbureaucracy offers to organizations presently and required by contemporary employees for effective work and positive outcomes. ´(Hendry 2004, p.5-6)
Behavioral changes in organizations notably of the contemporary epoch are clear to many, heedless of wherever in this globe organizations are situated. For instance in the case of managerial and employee sector; distinct dialogues affirmed that, the interrelatedness of global issues such as markets-in the business arena as such, which are triggered by the rise of competition in the business environment (Grey & Garnsten 2003, p. 240-241) -denote and support the fact that post-bureaucracy is certainly surpassing-what was once considered as the right manner of dealing with organizational affairs mainly behavioral issues-bureaucracy and its ideologies. The point to contemplate in this argument is that, the competitiveness of organizations elevated by globalization in the current era has brought new and creative ideas. In this case, the constituents of organizations-employees, managers and the environment withinendure involuntary changes that turn to be ideal for organizational activities, hence emergence of post-bureaucratic ideologies within the organizations. Technology being the core aspect through which organizations encounter since technology is mostly related to globalization. This issue of the rapid rise of technology has proven to be the panacea of bureaucracy and tool of change in different public and organizational matters as stated by ( Knights & Willmott 2007, p.410) that, ³technology is seen as extraneous to the rest of the society, an autonomous force that causes social and organizational change.´
Underpinning the concept of post-bureaucracy as a tool of change in organizational behaviors rather than bureaucracy; critiques of these two contrasting notions in the case of organizational behavior visibly elucidate that, the customary bureaucratic is nothing but problematic to a huge
sum in running many organizational behavioral matters. Nohria (1992: 2, cited in Du Gay 2005, p.95) claims that, ³if the old model of organization was the large hierarchical firm, the model of organization that is considered characteristic of the New Competition is a network, of lateral & horizontal interlinkages within and among firms.´ Nevertheless, the diverse spontaneous changes in organizations due to post-bureaucracy, and its many new changes, the people who are involved in such organizations are badly affected by these rapid changes. Leading to loss of jobs to some and loss of working positions to others within their organizations. This argument is supported by (Grey & Garnsten 2003, p. 236) claim that, ³certainly we would not deny that there are and will be many who lose out in any process of organizational change´
Empowerment as another aspect that defines post-bureaucracy is given attention by many scholars claiming that it has boosted employees within organizations male and female performances. Due to this presumption, empowering employees by managers in an organization leads to what has been described as ³culture of contribution´, whereby every worker of a certain institution feels the same as their counterparts. Contrary to the problematic ideology of bureaucracy whereby managers loose sense of security by fearing ³«the loss of power, control and authority´ (Ivancevic, Konopaske & Matteson 2005, p. 395) Female workers are said to have mostly benefited from empowerment brought about by post-bureaucracy due to the fact that they have been victims of male supremacy in every sector of life.
Conclusively, for decades, organizations of public and private levels have been operating in a bureaucratic manner. Stratification between managers of top positions and their subordinates in organizations have been existing to such an extent that the culture has become cumbersome to get rid of. Although the bureaucratic culture is said to be existing hitherto, its powerful influence is said to be deteriorating due to the advent of the new post-bureaucratic concepts. Employees of contemporary organizations are said to be enjoying post-bureaucracy as the new style of running things within their organizations, since it lifted the demarcation lines between top ranked managers and the rest of the employees. Employees implement self conscience in performing their required tasks within their organizations. In maintaining organizational behaviors, managers
of organizations are considered as the blame takers always for whatever happens in organizations; as in the case of bureaucratic corporations for instance managers have no alternative but to make sure that-to avoid crises and demise of their organizations, they have to stand tall and act smartly in maintaining the relationship between every organization member from the top rank to the bottom since they are perceived as technical problem solvers.
However, in this paper that required critical analysis of post-bureaucracy as a solution to bureaucracy and its problems, many aspects that provide vivid and understanding information about organizational behavior and its two influential component (bureaucracy and postbureaucracy) have been illustrated in a manner that will provide clear understanding of the papers requirements and hence also profitable to everyone. Not forgetting that the concept of bureaucracy has not totally vanished from the organizational behavior sector and any other sector of life, but rather exists and still utilized by some organizations if not that all organizationsdespite the rapid changes of the world-are still maintaining some bureaucratic criterion in running their respective work places as (Iedema 2003, p.2) claims that ³many organizations have adopted a post-bureaucratic rhetoric, while at the same time retaining traditional structural hierarchies, expert and specialization boundaries, and procedures and processes whose intent is top-down control rather than bottom-up facilitation.´