Bureaucracy Basics In the past, organizations were commonly structured as bureaucracies. A bureaucracy is a form of organization based on logic, order, and the legitimate use of formal authority. Bureaucracies are meant to be orderly, fair, and highly efficient. Their features include a clear-cut division of labor, strict hierarchy of authority, formal rules and procedures, and promotion based on competency. Today, many people view bureaucracies negatively and recognize that bureaucracies have their limits. If organizations rely too much on rules and procedures, they become unwieldy and too rigid— making them slow to respond to changing environments and more likely to perish in the long run. But management theory doesn't view all bureaucratic structures as inevitably flawed. Instead, they ask these critical questions: • When is a bureaucracy a good choice for an organization?
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