How to Eliminate Bureaucracy in Organizations?

Knowledge Center

Genevieve Northup
Editor, Germany

How to Eliminate Bureaucracy in Organizations?

Likened to a crippling illness, many authors argued that bureaucracy must be eliminated from organizations. For example, Gary Hamel stated that bureaucracy prevents forward thinking and innovation, suppresses creativity and motivation, and “is the enemy of resilience” (as cited in Denning, 2014).
Management students and practitioners associate bureaucracy with a vertical mechanistic organization where strategic planning is conducted by upper management (Kreitner, 2009, pp. 245, 252). In such an organization, the “span of control” is narrow with many layers of supervisors, lower-level managers and middle managers, each overseeing relatively few employees (Kreitner, 2009, p. 251).

To lessen bureaucracy, many organizations have REMOVED MANAGEMENT LAYERS hoping to encourage "employee empowerment" (Hamel as cited in Denning, 2014). However, these are just are superficial changes that have not actually decreased bureaucracy. Hamel argues that power still lies in the hands of the few so that employees are not actively involved in strategic planning and that hurdles still hamper the innovation process (as cited in Denning, 2014). Even after such reorganizations, bureaucracy remains.

According to Nayer and Hamel (as cited in Denning, 2014; Kreitner, 2009, p. 185 ), to really overcome bureaucracy in organizations, they must perform an audit of policies, structure and mission focusing on following things:
  1. INNOVATION PLATFORMS: Create platforms for innovative ideas to flourish,
  2. CUSTOMER EXPERIENCES: Focus on delivering unique experiences to customers, rather than increasing shareholder profits, (increased profits will occur organically from successful product differentiation),
  3. EMPLOYEE OWNERSHIP: Enable leadership by allowing for more employee autonomy.
⇒ Do you have any other ideas/experiences on how bureaucracy can be fought in business firms or non-profit organizations?
Denning, Steve. (2014, Nov 7). Why Bureaucracy must Die.
Kreitner, R. (2009). Management. (11th ed.). Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin

  Jerry Mp
Entrepreneur, Uganda

Fighting Bureaucracy in NGOs

It is true that bureaucracy hinders many innovativ...

  Jaap de Jonge
Editor, Netherlands

Tips to Eliminate Bureaucracy

I agree with Leo Babauta what needs to be achieved...

  Andrew Blaine
Business Consultant, South Africa

The Power of the Operations Manual to Fight Bureaucracy

A living, current and relevant operations manual (...

  Herman Heyman
Consultant, Belgium

Fighting Bureaucracy in NGOs

We have avoided a lot of bureaucracy by - Keepi...

  Javier Elenes
Business Consultant, Mexico

Focus on Results to Avoid Bureaucracy

I recommend to focus the job descriptions on the c...

Manager, Kenya

How to Eliminate Bureaucracy

The best way in my experience is to have all proce...

  Ray Chatwin
Lecturer, United Kingdom

Let's Hear it for Bureaucracy!

Bureaucracy shouldn't be used as a mud-pie to thro...

  Katie Pawley MBA
Consultant, United States

Balance of Bureaucracy and Employee Ownership

Hello, I have reviewed everyones' submissions and ...

  Javier Elenes
Business Consultant, Mexico

Focus the Operations Manual to Fight Bureaucracy

@Andrew Blaine: To focus the Operations Manual to ...

  Ajay kapoor, India

How to Eliminate Bureaucracy in Organizations

In order to eliminate bureaucracy, organisations s...

Business Consultant, India

Experiences in Eliminating Bureaucracy in our Organization

Bureaucracy in my organization has come down to si...

  Andrew Blaine
Business Consultant, South Africa

Prime Objective of an Ops Manual

@Javier Elenes: Hi Javier, at the risk of strayin...

  jorge anibal hoyos hoyos
Manager, Colombia

Countering Bureaucracy by Designing Procedures and an Empowerment Frame

There should be a cost-effective design of the pro...

Management Consultant, Sultanate of Oman

Management Culture and Bureaucracy

The level of bureaucracy depends on the level of d...

  Javier Elenes
Business Consultant, Mexico

Employee Participation on How to do it Not What Shall be Done (Manager Responsibility)

@RAJI GEORGE: Just an important practical note on ...

  Andrew Blaine
Business Consultant, South Africa

How to do it Best?

@Javier Elenes: Hi Javier, While I agree with your...

Business Consultant, India

How to do it Best

I agree with Javier Elenes, there should be standa...

  Emmanuel Mwirichia
Manager, Kenya

Arrange and Welcome Dissenting Views

In a movie I watched recently (World War Z, starri...

  jorge anibal hoyos hoyos
Manager, Colombia

Fight Bureaucracy by Using Cronyism

The cronyism (Editor: ~favoritism) could be a solu...

Manager, Canada

Bureaucracy Bottleneck

Most decisions in an organization are made by a fe...

United Kingdom

Can a Bureaucratic Culture Really Be Removed?

How is it possible to eliminate bureaucracy in an ...

  David Wilson
Manager, Canada

Reduce Levels of Management and Empower Employees

Too many bureaucratic organizations are based on a...


More on Bureaucracy:
Special Interest Group

Do you have a keen interest in Bureaucracy? Become our SIG Leader

Knowledge Center

About 12manage | Advertising | Link to us / Cite us | Privacy | Suggestions | Terms of Service
© 2022 12manage - The Executive Fast Track. V15.8 - Last updated: 26-5-2022. All names ™ of their owners.