Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Bureaucracy, What is it Good for?

By: Frank Carbone

    When I chose to do a blog on Bureaucracy I had no idea what exactly it meant,  so I did what any typical student would do I Googled it.  Google led me to Wikipedia.  According to Wikipedia, "the purpose of a bureaucracy is to successfully implement the actions of an organization of any size (but often associated with large entities such as government, corporations, and nongovernmental organizations), in achieving its purpose and mission, and the bureaucracy is tasked to determine how it can achieve its purpose and mission with the greatest possible efficiency and at the least cost of any resources." Wow, that's terribly wordy.  Maybe the dictionary app on my phone has more of a brief description: 1. government by many bureaus, administrators, and petty officials. 2. the body of officials and administrators, especially of a government or government department.  Ok, I kind of get it.  A bureaucracy is kind of like an assembly line style of running an organization.  Each person or department has their own particular task or job.  When I think of assembly line I naturally think of Henry Ford and Ford Motor Company.

      Henry Ford invented the assembly line as a way to make car production more efficient, safe and cost effective.

       So in theory, bureaucracy sounds like a great idea.  However, a constant problem associated with bureaucracy is "red tape" or unnecessary steps required to complete a task.  For example, when I call to complain to my cable provider that my service is not working, or costs too much, or take your pick of ridiculous scenarios, I first must go through an automated service asking me to enter my phone number, account number, address, favorite color, etc.  I am then transferred to an actual person who pretty much asks me the same questions that the machine did and decides who they need to connect me to in order to resolve my problem.  At this point I've been on the phone for twenty minutes and I am just finally having my problem addressed and usually solved in a short amount of time.  This infuriates me to no end.  
     This tends to be the common response to most people trying to navigate a bureaucracy.
Just plain silly.


  1. "How many bureaucrats does it take to screw in a light bulb?"

    "I don't know, that's not my department."

  2. Great post and comment! I sometimes ask myself the same question, especially when I have a problem at CCP. I'll ask a question and I get, "I don't know ask Mr. Smith in the business department at BG-1000." Then Mr. Smith directs me to someone in the registration department, and the process infinitely repeats. I never get my question answered, but the bureaucracy lives on.