BUREAUCRACY AND EFFICIENCY IN NIGERIAN PUBLIC ENTERPRISE
A CASE STUDY OF POWER HOLDING
The primary purpose of this study is to ascertain the compact of bureaucracy towards achieving organizational objective.
The survey method of descriptive research was used for the study. The main instrument used in data collection for the study was a questionnaire the responses were tallied in frequency tables and percentage was used to analyze the data.
The result of the analysis and interpretation revealed that bureaucracy has too much innovation and not rigidity, it sees human feelings and not regarding human feelings and not regarding human as a programmed like machines and appropriately manipulated to produce standard outcomes in the organization.
It was also discovered that rules and regulation encourage the operation of Power holding , Anambra state , impersonal orientation help the actualization of organizational objectives, too close supervision and control helps bureauorate in the process of carrying out assigned works in the organization, employees are motivated due to unsterile work environment, strick adherence to rules and regulation allow for workers.
Creativity and innovation, hierarchy of authority fosters the process of decision, a message- sender and message receive short communication, Division of work compete of work comede and slow the process of decision making, employee are satisfied by the method o payment and remuneration.
Also, it was recommend from the study that organization has been viewing their staff as human that have feelings and not like machine that an be programmed, the polytechnic management should neither be two rigid nor two flexible in things but a balance should be struct, employees should be expose to learning opportunities so as to bring out creativity and innovativeness in them.
The polytechnic should “work with and not load over’ subordinate should understand how the system works that will bring positive change.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Bureaucracy is a distinctive arrangement used by human beings to organize their activities. The invention of Western bureaucracy several centuries ago helped solve the problem for leaders of governing human systems that grew larger and more complicated with each passing year. The great virtue and probably defining characteristic of bureaucracy, according to the one of the founders of sociology, German Max Weber ( 1864-1920), is as “an institutional method for applying general rules to specific cases, thereby making the actions of government fair and predictable”.
Weber contributed much to the understanding of bureaucracy as a social phenomenon. His ideal bureaucracy legitimately, efficiently, and rationally organized people and work to get things done by the elected leader in a democracy. Bureaucracy, he noted, provides for the role of the “functionary” (an interesting word), who is the person interspersed between leader and electorate within a democratic system. Ten features of the Weberian bureaucracy archetype follow:
The bureaucrats must be personally free and subject to authority only with respect to the impersonal duties of their offices.
The bureaucrats are arranged in a clearly defined hierarchy of offices.
The functions of each office are clearly specified.
The bureaucrats accept and maintain their appointments freely—without duress.
Appointments to office are made on the basis of technical qualifications, which ideally are substantiated by examinations administered by the appointing authority, a university, or both.
The bureaucrats receive money salaries and pension rights, which reflect the varying levels of the hierarchy. While the bureaucrats are free to leave the organization, they can be removed from their offices only under previously stated, specific circumstances.
The office must be the bureaucrat’s sole or at least major occupation.
A career system is essential; while promotion may be the result of either seniority or merit, it must be premised on the judgment of hierarchical superiors.
The bureaucrats do not have property rights to their office or any personal claim to the resources that go with it.
The bureaucrat’s conduct must be subject to systematic control and strict discipline.
Bureaucracy has been called a concept with a career. Today it has at least four separate meanings:
The totality of government offices or bureaus that constitute the permanent government of a state; that is, those people and functions that continue irrespective of changes in political leadership.
All of the public officials of a government.
A general invective to refer to any inefficient organization encumbered by red tape.
A specific set of structural arrangements.
Bureaucracy is sometimes called the “fourth branch of government…While technically under control of the executive branch, it sometimes seems to function as if it had a will, power, and legal authority all its own.” (5)
The Two Main Problems of Bureaucracy
Most people at some time or another complain about two main problems with bureaucracy: inefficiency and arbitrariness, according to political scientist and author James Q. Wilson. Wilson received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1959 and later taught at Harvard and UCLA. (He is well known for his influential “broken windows” theory of crime (1982), that is, if police and the community ignore public disorder (symbolized by broken windows), then law-abiding people will be intimidated and criminals will get the message that “anything goes.” Many police departments adopted this theory as part of “community policing.” Without good statistics on crime rates, nobody would know what worked in fighting crime.)
Weber was a German sociologist and formulated ideas on the ideal management approach for large organizations. Unlike Taylor and Fayol who tried to solve practical problems related to the activity of managing, Weber was more concerned with the basic issue of structuring the enterprise. He developed a set of ideas about the structure of an organization that define what we know as “bureaucracy.”
The characteristics of an ideal formalized organization or bureaucracy as described by Weber consist of the following set of typical characteristics:
Division of labor : authority and responsibility are defined very clearly and set out as official duties;
Hierarchy of authority: office positions are organized in a hierarchy of authority resulting in a chain of command or what is known as “the scalar principle”;
Formal selection: employees are selected on the basis of technical qualifications (merits) through formal examinations, education or training;
Career managers: managers are not owners of the units they administer, but professionals who work for fixed salaries and pursue “careers” within their respective fields;
Formal rules: administrators must function according to strict formal rules and other controls regarding the conduct of their official duties. These rules and controls would be impersonal and uniformly applied. .
Because of the emphasis on efficiency that had developed around the turn of the 20th century, many management scholars and practitioners interpreted Weber’s writings on bureaucracy as a prescription for organizing. However, Weber was more interested in developing his bureaucratic type as a method for comparing organizational forms across societies. He believed firmly that not one single organization would conform to the dimensions of his bureaucratic model. He only believed that some organizations would have a close resemblance to his ideal type of bureaucracy. Weber was merely testing his thesis of the modernization of society characterized by rationalization. The more modern societies become, the more rational the citizens will become and the greater the need to create bureaucratic organizations. It was Weber’s interest in the rationality of social life that directed his attention to the study of organizations.
On the topic of bureaucracy and efficiency, Wilson wrote: “Efficiency is a ratio of valued resources used to valued outputs produced…The smaller that ratio, the more efficient the production. If the valued output is a rebuilt skating rink, [for example,] then whatever process uses the fewest dollars or the least time to produce a satisfactory rink is the most efficient process.”
But, Wilson notes, the valued output may not be only a rebuilt skating rink! Government has many valued outputs, including “a reputation for integrity, the confidence of the people, and the support of important interest groups. When we complain about skating rinks not being built on time we speak as if all we cared about were skating rinks. But when we complain that contracts were awarded without competitive bidding or in a way that allowed bureaucrats to line their pockets we acknowledge that we care about many things besides skating rinks; we care about the onstraint that we want government to observe.
But is honest and accountable in its actions and properly responsive to worthy constituencies may be a very efficient government, if we measure efficience by taking into account all of the valued outputs.” Wilson concludes: “A perfectly efficient agency could be a monstrous one, swiftly denying us our liberties, economically inflicting injustices, and competently expropriating our wealth.”
Arbitrariness refers to “officials acting without legal authority, or with that authority in a way that offends our sense of justice. Justice means, first, that we require the government to treat people equally on the basis of clear rules known in advance: If Becky and Bob both are driving sixty miles per hour in a thirty-mile-per-hour zone and the police give a ticket to Bob, we believe they also should give a ticket to Becky. Second we believe that justice obliges the government to take into account the special needs and circumstances of individuals: If Becky is speeding because she is on her way to the hospital to give birth to a child and Bob is speeding for the fun of it, we may feel that the police should ticket Bob but not Becky. Justice in the first sense means fairness, in the second it means responsiveness. Obviously, fairness and responsiveness often are in conflict.”
Wilson says “the checks and balances of the American constitutional system reflect our desire to reduce the arbitrariness of official rule. That desire is based squarely on the premise that inefficiency is a small price to pay for freedom and responsiveness. Congressional oversight, judicial review, interest-group participation, media investigations, and formalized procedures all are intended to check administrative discretion.” Constraints such as these reduce the efficiency of an agency but also its arbitrariness. “We want the government to be both fair and responsive, but the more rules impose to insure fairness (that is, to treat all people alike [like Becky and Bob above]), the harder we make it for the government to be responsive (that is, to take into account the special needs and circumstances of a particular case.)”.
Americans fear bureaucracy’s use of discretion to guide decisions and actions, and insist on rules, for example, particularly “at the hands of street-level bureaucracies that deal with us as individuals rather than as organized groups and that touch the more intimate aspects of our lives [e.g., police, schools, medical institutions, prisons]. That worry is natural; in these settings we feel helpless and The State seems omnipotent. We want these bureaucracies to treat us fairly but we also want them to be responsive to our particular needs…”
Did you know that European bureaucracies are less rule-bound than American bureaucracies? This is true, according to Wilson. “The United States relies on rules to control the exercise of official judgment to a greater extent than any other industrialized democracy. The reason…has little to do with the kinds of bureaucrats we have and everything to do with the political environment in which those bureaucrats must work.”
How then does a society strike a reasonable balance between governance by rules and governance by discretion? First, Wilson suggests, we must “sensitize ourselves to the gains and losses associated with governance by rule rather than by discretion.” We need to be aware that in America rules induce agencies to
1 produce certain observable outcomes,
2 create offices, procedures, and claims inside an organization that can protect precarious values, and
3 specify minimum standards that must be met.
Talented, strongly motivated people usually will find ways of making even rule-ridden systems work to get the job done, says Wilson. Second, if we wish to complain about how rule-ridden our government agencies seem to be, we should direct those complaints not to the agencies but to the Congress, the courts, and the organized interests that make effective use of Congress and the courts.”
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEMS
The Power holding was known in the eighties and nineties for early dispatch of services, result oriented performance and high productivity. It is pathetic to note that these qualities that endeared students and the Nigeria, Anambra state are now extinct today with the following research questions:
1. Does bureaucratic structure and control encourage and organization to achieve its objective.
2. Does bureaucratic improve decision making.
3. Does bureaucratic improve productivity.
4. Does bureaucratic improve efficiency in an organization or bureaucratic structure like Power holding
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF STUDY
The study is aimed at:
i. To know how bureaucracy structure and control encourage an organization to achieve its objectives.
ii. To find out how bureaucracy improve decision making.
iii. To ascertain how bureaucracy improve productivity
iv. To determine how bureaucracy improve efficiency I an organization
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