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This essay focuses on the assertion that Too much and too little bureaucracy in an organization demotivate employees

and cause them stress. According to James & George (2008), bureaucracy is a formal system of organization and administration designed to ensure efficiency and effectiveness. Hanson (1979) defines bureaucracy as an authority structure based on rational behavior.Bureaucracy has been a subject of controversy within industry and some of the elements of bureaucracy are: A formal hierarchical structure, Management by rules, Organization by functional specialty, An "up-focused" or "in-focused" mission, Purposely impersonal and Employment is based on technical qualifications. It is these characteristics of a bureaucratic organization that at times course stress when applied either too much or to a little extent. The hierarchical authority that bureaucracy brings in may mean that employees do not contribute to decision making due to the setup. Ideas can be killed because they come from the wrong person and ideas may be supported because they are advanced by the right person. More so, workers feel that Data is used selectively, or distorted to make performance look better than it really is, Mistakes and failures are denied, covered up or ignored, Responsibility for mistakes and failure tends to be denied, and where possible, blame is shifted to others, Decisions are made based on the perceived desires of superiors, rather than concern for mission achievement and Senior managers become so insulated from the realities of the front line that they may use stereotypical thinking and out-of-date experience in making decisions. All the feelings mentioned above may result in stress for the workers. However, Hierarchy is necessary because too little of it may cause discontentment and frustration among workers because a supervisor might make a clearly suicidal decision without informing his manager. An example of the negative effects of too little bureaucracy is when a mechanic in a workshop decides to fix the crank shaft on a clients vehicle that he has apparently discovered is malfunctioning. In an attempt to fix the car part, the mechanic succeeds in breaking a coil which costs even more that the initial job quoted. As a result, the organization incurs high cost and the individual is under a lot of pressure and stressed to make amends.
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However, there are benefits to bureaucracys authority hierarchy and a major benefit promised by the bureaucratic form is that the top executive would have control over the entire organization, and the outside world would know who to hold responsible. "The captain of the ship is responsible for whatever happens on or to the ship." This acts as assurance to the workers of an organization that good decisions will be made and made in time before they get frustrated and stressed due to bureaucracy. At the end of the day bureaucracy is put in place to protect the employees themselves from stress.

Because bureaucratic organizations are keen on making sure that employees specialize in their line of work, the worker might be prevented from recognizing whats occurring in the organization but whats within their domain. People in their own department spend much of their time protecting their departments "turf." The head of a department feels responsible first for protecting the department, its people and its budget, even before helping to achieve the organizations mission. An example is a Sales executive might feel hard done by the production department who are not doing enough to provide him with the orders that he has promised his clients. All this could be caused by the production manager who does not want to blow the budget it terms of workers overtime wages or his rigid adherence to company policy on machine operating times. The whole set-up might lead to frustration and stress for the sales executive.

On the other hand specialization of sub-units promises accountability, control and expertise. If specialists were in charge of each function of the organization, then top management could be certain that an educated or trained person was responsible for that function. In addition, top management could be reasonably certain that the people handling that function were expert in that function. Both of these benefits guarantee more certain control and effectiveness thereby enhancing job satisfaction and reducing stress within the workers.

Management by procedures or rules might lead to a lot of delays in the execution of duties by employees thereby frustrating workers and consequently causing them stress and leaving them demotivated; hence they might not be committed to their duties when they know the amount of time it might take for them to have feedback on their requests or suggestions. However, control and consistency is improved by individuals. Members of staff will know what is expected of them by management, hence working with guidelines makes work easy and the probabilities of making dangerous mistakes are greatly minimized.

Being impersonal tends to dehumanize the very people that bureaucracy purports to serve. This creates an environment of alienation through the organization as workers come to see themselves as a grain in a packet of sugar, hence employees are made to feel as though their input into the firms operations is of little or no significance. This will lead to an apathetic way of doing things by workers.
The impersonality element of bureaucracy however is not bad for the workers on an organization since it promotes objectivity, consistency and equality and at the same time fostering efficiency and reducing bias. Bureaucracy ensures that workers of the organization are treated the same and what applies to a floor supervisor also applies to the production manager. This element of bureaucracy ensures that workers will give it their all knowing that they will be treated fairly despite the fact that they are of a minority race, of a lower position in the firm or they belong to a certain department.
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Because bureaucratic organizations require a record of whatever transpires, it becomes restrictive for the psychological growth of the individual in their job. This tends to stifle their innovativeness; frustration and stress creep in as a result. An example is a sales executive who by law should call all the clients in the data base and not any other calls. The sales executive might be restricted to calling those people he has identified as prospects; hence stifling his innovativeness and causing frustration and stress to the executive. Recording and record keeping is beneficial not only to the organization as a whole but also to the individual worker who will be coming into a vacated office to fill in for someone. The current incumbent does not need constant help or consultations from the others or the manager all they need to do is refer to the records. This serves the worker plenty of time, energy and sometimes embarrassment due to constant requests for assistance on how to progress. Bureaucracy as defined by employees is an array of negative forces, attitudes or actions that are damaging to organizational effectiveness. It weakens employee morale and commitment. It divides people within the organization against each other, and misdirects their energy into conflict or competition with each other instead of mission achievement. For workers, bureaucratic setups make them feel like they are not trusted, dont have good judgment or cannot work until they are pushed. At every opportune moment, bureaucracy should be weighed or measured then managers come up with proper, well worked bureaucracies that maintain the smooth operations of business allowing each member of staff from managers to junior staff to carry out their duties without bureaucratic hindrances that may cause a lot of stress.

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