Bureaucratic management style is one of the oldest types of leadership, second to authoritarian or autocratic styles. It is the typical style followed by federal and state authorities, government organizations and it is also endorsed and practiced by conglomerates and publicly listed companies. Any large company is likely to have a bureaucratic management style at a macro level. At the micro level, one manager or a leader can have his or her own management style.
A typical bureaucratic management style follows the top-down decision making practice. The senior management or chief executive decides and everyone falls in line. Every employee at every level of the hierarchy functions in accordance with the key responsibilities and company policies only in furtherance to the decision taken at the very top. There is limited opinion sharing and open ended discussions are rare. Bureaucratic management style is pretty stringent and it has very little room for improvisation.
Advantages of Bureaucratic Management Style
It works wonders in large organizations. It is difficult to manage hundreds and thousands of employees if there isn’t a proper hierarchy and if everyone doesn’t know or is not told exactly what one must do. There is little room for deviation or digression so everyone does his or her job which is eventually for the benefit of the company.
Bureaucratic management style works well for traditional businesses or large companies that don’t need innovation at every level. When decisions have to be followed religiously and everyone must remain confined to his or her role, things work out as planned and intended. There is little to no unpredictability and thus a stable working environment is established and maintained.
Bureaucratic management style upholds the company values and principles. Everyone works towards the preset agenda or the vision as laid out by the head honchos, which does work well in majority of cases.
Disadvantages of Bureaucratic Management Style
There is little to no room for innovation. There is limited scope for excellence. Since there is lack of freedom, independent decision making and one cannot really try out ways that are not approved by the absolute senior management, one cannot really do wonders. Things work very systematically and often in an archaic manner which may not be very effective for new age companies.
Bureaucratic management style often shackles personal development and stunts the growth of individuals. That can lead to a dip in employee morale, especially for talented people.
If the people in power don’t have the right intentions or if they are incapable then such a management style can jeopardize the company’s wellbeing.