Pros of bureaucratic leadership

Bureaucratic Management Theory

Rhonda Scott

Kaplan University



Bureaucratic Management Theory

The Bureaucratic Management Theory was created by Max Weber at the end of the 19th Century.





Weber’s Theory

Max Weber a German sociologist believed that bureaucracy would result in the highest level of efficiency, rationality, and worker satisfaction.

He believed within bureaucracy everyone would be treated equally and the division of labor would be clearly laid out for all employees.

He believed so strongly in bureaucracy he thought it would transform all of society.



What is Bureaucracy exactly?


“Bureaucracy is an organizational structure that is characterized by many rules, standardized processes, procedures and requirements, number of desks, meticulous division of labor and responsibility, clear hierarchies and professional, almost impersonal interactions between employees”.

Weber’s Theory


Weber’s Bureaucratic Management Theory stressed the need of organizations to operate in a lucid way instead of following the subjective notions or irrational sentiments of owner and managers.


Webster concluded that organizations based on rational authority, where authority was given to competent and qualified people, would result in better efficiency rather than organizations based on family names and who you knew.




Weber’s six Characteristics of Bureaucracy

Division of Labor Tasks are clearly defined and employees become skilled by specializing in doing one thing. There is clear definition of authority and responsibility.
Hierarchical Management Structure Each level controls the levels below and is controlled by the level above. Authority and responsibilities are clearly defined for each position.
Career Orientation Management is separate from ownership, and managers are career employees. Protection from arbitrary dismissal is guaranteed.
Formal Rules and Regulations Rules and regulations are documented to ensure reliable and predictable behavior. Managers must depend on formal organizational rules in employee relations.
Impersonality Rules are applied uniformly to everyone. There is no preferential treatment or favoritism.

Henri Fayol

Leader as a mining engineer.


Wanted managers to be responsible for more than just increasing production.


Fayol began incorporating some of Weber’s theories into his own work.


Henri Fayol Continued


Adding in his ideas and experiences Fayol published the book General and Industrial Management in 1916.


Unlike Weber, Fayol concentrated on how workers were managed and how the concisely contributed to the organization.


Success to him was linked to satisfaction and motivation from employees.


Henri Fayol Continued


Fayol created five duties of management:








Foresight: Create a plan of action for the future.

Organization: Provide resources to implement the plan.

Command: Select and lead the best workers through clear instructions and orders.

Coordinate: Make sure the diverse efforts fit together through clear communication.

Control: Verify whether things are going according to plan and make corrections where needed.



Bureaucracy and Today


The principles of bureaucracy are used in nearly all large organizations and corporations today. Max Weber’s ideas that hiring and promoting should be based on qualifications, not social status or standings, is incorporated into our U.S. labor laws todays.


Pros of bureaucratic leadership

Some advantages of bureaucratic leadership include:


A highly repeatable structure.

Allows a company to manage employees easily, especially those that work in manufacturing or repetitive jobs.

Perfect management style for large organizations, who count on reliable results, like military and government affiliations.


Cons of bureaucratic leadership

Does not work well for where success depends on ingenuity and flexibility.


Not made for heart-based companies, meaning companies that are not in business just for the money, there goal is to inspire and improve the lives of others with their passion and creativity.


Organizations that sere others should choose a leadership style that is more people-oriented.




Holden, S. (2016). And You Thought You Were Fed Up With Health Care Bureaucracy. The New York Times. p. 5.


Segel, K. T. (2017). Bureaucracy Is Keeping Health Care from Getting Better. Harvard Business Review Digital Articles, 2-4.


Samel W., R., H., S., Alwi, & Gita, S. (2015). Health Care Reform Bureaucracy In The District Merauke In Perspective Agency Theory. International Journal Of Scientific & Technology Research, Vol 4, Iss 4, Pp 304-306 (2015), (4), 304.


(2017). Bureaucracy is keeping health care from getting better. Business Mirror (Makati City, Philippines).

Bureaucratic Management Theory (1930-1950)

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