Excessive Bureaucratization: The J-Curve Theory of Bureaucracy and Max Weber Through the Looking Glass
The virtues of the division of labor have long been admired. The industrial society has carried the division of labor to its logical conclusion in the workplace. The virtues of hierarchy are well known. Hierarchy concentrates authority, provides direction, and ensures coordination. It enforces accountability through direct and clear lines of responsibility from top to bottom in a bureaucratic organization. A large city was poorly served by its regional rapid transit agency. Excessive bureaucratization can make for quite a different organization and quite different outcomes than Max Weber’s analysis would lead one to expect. Excessive specialization may well result in uncaring, uninterested employees, working well below capacity and unwilling to stop the organizational saboteurs among them. Bureaucracy requires the full-time employment of administrative generalists to manage the organization operated by technical specialists who produce and deliver its goods and services.