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What is Bureaucratic?

Bureaucratic is a term that stems from the word bureaucracy, which denotes an administrative system that subjects decision-making to excessive routine and procedures. Although the bureaucratic administrative system has been regularly affiliated to the operational approach of government agencies, the application of the term has been extended to the administration of business organizations.

Bureaucracy thrives where there are standardized and established procedures within an organization’s system, for the implementation of decisions to maintain order and uniformity.

However, the natural consequences of a bureaucratic administrative system are that the decision-making process would be slow and organizational efficiency would be hindered. If not properly managed, bureaucratic organizations stand the risk of losing their competitive edge to competitors that adopts nimbleness is decision making. 

For instance, an organization that operates a multi-layered system for employing and terminating the employment of its employees would be ‘hand-tied’ in relieving non-performing employees due to the mandatory procedures in place. The bureaucracy would mean more costs incurred by the organization in terms of salaries and benefits to non-performing employees and failure to find suitable persons in good time for those roles.

While it has been widely held that bureaucracy tends to promote “redundancy, arbitrariness, and inefficiency,” a balanced view would reveal its desirability, especially in the context of risk control.

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