Bureaucracy is based on the assumption that control, predictability and certainty can be created by management. This is mostly nonsense, particularly in today’s hyper-change environment where flexibility is essential. Bureaucracy is the opposite of flexibility because it dictates what workers should do. This is accomplished by rules, polices, procedures, etc.
Many companies have policy manuals the size of telephone directories which restrict what staff can think and do. Personnel are required to follow a procedure or policy, even if the situation requires a different course of action. The fact that many of the rules and policies in these books are outdated, unnecessarily restrictive, and costly does not seem to bother control-minded managers who insist on keeping them.
Bureaucracy places unnecessary limits on the thinking and actions of individuals confronting problems that require a new solution. Why think about the many tasks that the policy book says you cannot do? It prevents new ideas from emerging or even being considered. Over time, the result is apathy and poor performance. Just look at government, the ultimate bureaucracy, for evidence of how ineffective and inefficient bureaucracies can get.
Bureaucracy is like communism. The best example of communism is North Korea, arguably the most repressive country in the world. This is a country where if you say anything against the government, you would likely go to jail or worse. Even complaining about the constant food shortages can get you arrested and sent to a slave work camp, along with your family. While bureaucratic organizations are obviously not as extreme, some are on the same restrictive spectrum.
Many people work for companies where if you make negative statements about the leadership, policies, etc., you would get ostracized or fired. In such oppressive places, there is an endemic lack of initiative, passion and sharing of ideas. The result is a lack of creativity and flexibility, which are essential to compete and survive in a rapidly changing environment. What a load of bullshit! Read my article to learn how to destroy bureaucracy and replace it with innovation, flexibly and risk-taking.