Contemporary Bureaucratic Paradigm

The Weber’s bureaucratic paradigm features the ideas of authority, responsibility, efficiency and control. Barzelay sets forth an alternative to the bureaucratic paradigm which is known as contemporary-bureaucratic paradigm which includes the concepts of customers, service, quality, value, flexibility, innovation, empowerment and continuous improvement.Key influence to the rise of a post-bureaucratic ethos is to encourage organizations to develop more entrepreneurial forms of governance in order to secure greater flexibility.

This involves removing the constraints posed by rigid and inflexible bureaucratic decision-making structures.

Success is determined by an organization’s ability to respond quickly to business needs, in contemporary bureaucracy. Among other things, the following features were identified as the features of contemporary bureaucratic paradigm

  • An assumption that people’s careers would not be restricted to one organization
  • An emphasis on sharing information
  • Consensus is generated through dialogue between organizational actors, not obedience to impersonal authority embodied in formal rules.
  • The importance of trust relationships
  • Co-ordination is predicated upon broad principles, rather than specific rules.

Great importance is assigned to the ‘network’ metaphor as a means of understanding contemporary form of governance. It facilitates co-operation, encourages knowledge transfer; enables to share the risks of innovation. One of the main features of post-bureaucracy is the ‘boundary less’ character of organizations, Co-operation with one another in more sustained ways to produce goods or deliver services.


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