Bureaucracy is a term that has been defined by a lot of scholars. One of the most famous scholars who influenced the study of bureaucracy is Max Weber. The well-known sociologist defined bureaucracy as a hierarchical authority structure that uses legal order and has its own set rules. Weber identified some major characteristics of a bureaucracy. He argued that a bureaucracy must have a clear hierarchy. He explained that an organization has to have lines of authority that have fixed activities to be considered as a bureaucracy. He also argued that the organization must have recorded or written rules that govern it. The organization must also have people who implement those rules. Lastly, Weber explained that the organization has to have a form of elevation from one level to another to become a bureaucracy (Merz 3)
Preconditions of bureaucracy
According to Weber, there are some preconditions that will enable an organization to become a bureaucracy. Weber said that there has to be continuous growth in the size of the organization. He further explained that this growth refers to the population of the organization and not necessarily the growth of business. A second precondition of a bureaucracy is that there has to be growth in terms of the administrative duties conducted by the organization. The organization’s administration must grow more complex for it to be a bureaucracy. This can be reflected in its duties. The third precondition that Weber presented was that there has to be the existence of a monetary system. This means that the organization has to have a formal way of getting and using money.
Bureaucracy in Middlesex County College
Weber argued that one of the most common forms of bureaucracy is the government. However, there are other organizations that are nowadays considered to be bureaucracies. These include business organizations and learning institutions. Middlesex County College is a college that is yet to reach the standards of an ideal bureaucracy, according to Weber’s traditional model of bureaucracy.
This learning institution is less hierarchical than most learning institutions. According to Weber, the ideal bureaucracy should have a hierarchy that denotes the levels of power in the organization. This is not the case with Middlesex County College. Even though the principal is on the top of the hierarchy, there is no clear distribution of power among the lecturers. Moreover, some of the students do not follow the rules that are set by the institution. One may find that many students do not attend class, even though this is a requirement.
Middlesex County College is not an ideal bureaucracy because it has no clear growth in the population of the students. Some of the recent statistics show that the number of graduates from the school in the year 2011– 2012 was low. In the same year, the number of students who enrolled in the school was 12,907, whereas those who graduated were only 1,199. The statistics show that a lot of students do not progress, despite the fact that these are two different lots of students This, in turn, shows that the administration has not developed more elaborate duties and tasks to help the students improve. Of the students who graduated, those who graduated in the year 2012 were more by 5 students only. This shows that growth in terms of population is also very small.
There are, however, a few things that make Middlesex County College a form of bureaucracy. It is expected that Middlesex County College gets money from the government because the college is a county school. It is also true to say that there is some form of hierarchy in the school, despite the fact that the hierarchy might not be respected by the students. The principal of the school is at the top of the hierarchy. The lecturers come down one level after the principal, and some of them are ranked higher than others. Some of the lecturers form the disciplinary committee and other committees that enforce the rules that are set for the school. All these show a form of hierarchy.
The school also has some fixed activities and rules. According to Weber, an ideal bureaucracy has to have fixed activities and its own set of rules. The school has a set of rules that govern the attendance of classes, the passing of exams, and the requirements needed for students to enroll and graduate from the school. All these serve as rules that govern the school. It is also clear that the school has fixed activities. For example, attendance of classes and graduation are fixed activities. The lecturers who teach the classes also contribute to the fixed activities.
In conclusion, Middlesex County College does not fit into the traditional model of bureaucracy. The college has some aspects of the traditional bureaucracy, but they are not enough to make it an ideal bureaucracy. There has to be a clear hierarchal structure for the school to become an ideal bureaucracy. It also has to have an increase in the number of students enrolling and graduating from the school.
Merz, Felix. Max Weber’s Theory of Bureaucracy and Its Negative Consequences. Munich: GRIN Verlag, 2011. Print.