Dysfunctions In Bureaucracy

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Knott and Miller present a number of dysfunctions that are present within bureaucracies. A few types of dysfunction are goal displacement, trained incapacity and dual systems of authority (Knott & Miller, 1987, p. 110-1). According to Knott and Miller, goal displacement occurs when a rigidity cycle starts to produce greater and greater emphasis is put on the rules, rather than the actual purpose of the organization as a whole (Knott & Miller, 1987, p. 110). In consequence, goal displacement means that employees replace a concern for organizational rules and procedures in the place of organizational goals. In turn, rules and procedures loose their effectiveness and constructive purpose (Knott & Miller, 1987, p. 110) A rigidity cycle is a type…show more content…
The intent of this criticism is not to point the many flaws of bureaucracy, rather to better improve upon it. I believe its important to first establish that not all public bureaucracies can be seen as dysfunctional just because one is. An example of this provided by Knott and Miller is that when the New York City Police Department found corruption in its vice department, it didn’t mean that all police officials were a suspect of the case (Knott & Miller, 1987, p. 118). Furthermore, in the United States, most interactions with local bureaucracies are fairly present. A study presented by Knott and Miller from 1963 presents that Americans feel much more equal treatment from bureaucracy in comparison to other parts in the world. 83% of Americans felt their bureaucrats tried to give equal treatment, where West German reported 63%, 53% in Italy, and 42% in Mexico. Granted this study is outdated, but it still gives a temperature as to how Americans felt about our bureaucracy (Knott & Miller, 1987, p. 118). In addition, its important to note that within reason, we should expect particular bureaucratic dysfunctions to appear. As an example, some bureaucrats experience trained capacity, where some do not experience it at all. Similarly, some organizations experience increasing rigidity, but some do not (Knott & Miller, 1987, p. 119). With this, bureaucracy experiences a ton of criticism because almost all that they do is public, meaning a lot of light is shed on anything irrational, dysfunctional and/or counter-productive that takes

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