Each those or not. He is expected

Each bureaucrat is supposed to be a technical expert and possess full knowledge of rules of the subject with which he is required to deal. In it, there is a system of rewards and punishments.

In bureaucracy there is system of hierarchy in which though everyone is doing his work independently, yet each one is linked with the other. Every dutiful and honest officer is fully protected as long as he performs his duties according to the rules. There is clear division of work and there is one who is final word. Each one is responsible to others. It is expected of every bureaucrat to implement decisions of the government no matter he likes those or not. He is expected to be politically neutral.

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He has every right to express his views on an issue with which he is dealing but, if for any reason, his views are not accepted he should not create hindrances in implementing alternative decisions. He should ungrudgingly accept and implement the decisions of his superiors. Every decision should be taken by him within the frame work of rules and regulations. Decision on every issue should be taken on merits and not by taking into consideration the status of the person and his place in society. In bureaucracy everyone is guided by past precedents.

Everyone enjoys security of service. The system has also its merits as well as demerits. While discussing bureaucracy, Merton has laid stress on influence of bureaucracy on personality and also on dysfunctions of bureaucracy His ideas are available in his famous book entitled ‘Social Theory and Social Structure’. In this volume the learned author has devoted two articles to dysfunctions of bureaucracy. He has further said that, in it, hierarchical positions are maturely related to each other and each position has clearly defined rights and obligations. In it power to exercise controls over others is not because of any individual but because of the position which one holds in the society.

A bureaucratic organisation is formal and duties of each one are specified. The higher officers maintain a distance from the lower ones an avoid freely mixing with them.

Merton on Webearian Model of Bureaucracy:

Max Weber has developed, as said earlier, rational legal model of bureaucracy, which has been criticised by Merton. He has said that the structure, especially its hierarchy and rules, which according to Weber is rational, can easily produce unexpected consequences which can be against the attainment of the objectives of the organisation. Thus what he means to say is that bureaucracy is inefficiency. Merton has also said that the formal specification of organisational structure outlined by Weber does not sufficiently indicate how in practice the bureaucrats will act in a particular situation.

Dysfunctions of Bureaucracy:

Merton has discussed at considerable length the dysfunctions of bureaucracy. He has laid stress on the study of those strains and pressures which influence the working of bureaucracy.

‘He has developed the concept of trained incapacity as well. According to him following are the main drawbacks of bureaucracy:

Strict Discipline and Lack of Use of Wisdom:

Merton has said that a bureaucrat is expected to remain disciplined. He is also expected to strictly follow rules and regulations and thus there is no scope form him to fully use his knowledge and wisdom. Since usually there is no balance between extreme discipline and use of wisdom in work, therefore, there is every likelihood of efficiency and personality of a person being adversely affected.

Displacement of Goals:

Merton has said that in bureaucracy maximum stress is laid on discipline and working according to rules which make the employees indifferent towards work and objective of the organisation. It also unfavourably influences his personality.

In fact observance of rules becomes an end in itself and not means to an end. The goals are replaced by rules and regulations and means become ends in themselves.

Trained Incapacity:

Merton has also developed the idea of trained incapacity. According to him, it is a situation in which abilities and capabilities of a person come before him in the form of his drawbacks and weaknesses. Training and abilities which, once were used for improvement in the changed situation these encourage unfavourable situations. According to Merton whereas training under certain situations helps in the development of personality, it, under different situations, can channelise energies in the wrong direction and stand on the way of taking impartial decisions.

Occupational Psychosis:

Merton has said that when a situation arises in which his training and ability becomes unfavourable to him that results in occupational psychosis. He has also said that because of his daily set routine every bureaucrat develops certain priorities as well as prejudices. He develops liking for something and disliking for certain other things. He also develops liking for certain work methods and procedures.


One more dysfunction to which Merton has drawn attention is formalism. He has said that in his system every action is guided by rules, discipline and impersonal relations. In the system there is too much of formalism which keeps the bureaucrats away from achieving the goals of the organisation.

Every one becomes so formal that he begins to function like a machine. He forgets the objectives which he is expected to achieve. This ultimately results in dissatisfaction of those who are served by such an organisation.


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