Five Problems With Bureaucracy

Top 5 Problems in Bureaucracy

Bureaucracy usually refers to a system in which selected officials take the decisions instead of the elected professionals and representatives. We find divided opinions on the advantages and disadvantage of the bureaucratic system. But most of the general public is clearly against it because of its numerous problems and shortcomings.

John Stuart Mill, the famous philosopher and political economist, believed that bureaucracy had some specific benefits. But even he claimed that its negatives far outweigh the positives. Bureaucracy, which is also commonly referred as red tape, complicates things by excessively following prescribed methods to the letter. It actually kills the basic concept of having a structured framework in the first place – the purpose of which was to speed things up.

Here Are The 5 biggest problems of bureaucracy:

1. Rigidity Stampedes Creativity:

The whole bureaucratic system is formed around rigid rules and regulations. This excessive form of rigid structures stampedes creativity and restricts growth. In all types of officialdom there is always adamant, inflexible and unaccommodating. Furthermore, bureaucracy requires everything to follow a given system, which diminishes any chances of creativity and out-of-the-box solutions.
With the modern-world changing fast and evolving in light of new challenges, this rigidity of bureaucracy is a big problem for any organization or government.

2. Impersonal:

According to Max Weber's theory of bureaucracy, it all works within a structure that does not have enough room for human emotions, satisfaction, needs and values. It is impersonal in nature and neither cares for the consumers nor the employees working around.

In a bureaucratic system, the fixed rules and regulations of an organization are more important than any individual’s emotions, values or needs. It is one of the biggest shortcomings of bureaucracy, which makes it one of the most disliked forms of administration.

3. Customer Dissatisfaction:

Although bureaucracy claims to have a framework to organize things, but the byproducts of it makes it all the more difficult to manage things quickly and efficiently. There are a lot of paperwork, files, registrations and processes in a bureaucratic system. This makes dealing with customers or consumers more troublesome, complex and problematic.

For example, if a consumer complains about a product or service, he requires immediate redemption and action on his complain. The consumer does not want to get bogged down with filing procedures, structured hierarchy and complex systems.

4. Slower Decision Making:

As you know that a bureaucratic system runs in accordance with its structure and set mechanics of officialdom, it significantly slows down the decision-making processes. Bureaucracy most often fails to quickly respond to the ever-changing competitive world. It cannot react to business changes, consumer complaints and demand-and-supply needs as quickly as some of the other competitors can do.

This is one of the reasons that we see unnecessary delays in a bureaucratic system. Today’s world requires fast-paced decisions and instant reactions – something that bureaucracy will always fail to comply with.

5. Limits Capabilities of Employees:

Last, but not the least, limiting capabilities of its employees is one of the biggest drawbacks and problems of bureaucracy. You must know that a bureaucratic system believes in heavy departmentalization and division of job responsibilities. Although compartmentalization may bring some advantages, but on the other hand, it significantly limits the potential and capabilities of the employees.

The job compartmentalization does not allow an employee to work beyond its delegated responsibilities. This not only limits the personal growth and motivation of the employee, but it also confines the overall productivity level of the organization.


Bureaucracy does claim to provide a structured framework for streamlined operations, but too much rigidity and complexity makes the process rather problematic. The above-mentioned 5 problems in bureaucracy are some of the many ones. With the business, government and corporate world evolving rapidly, people might need to look beyond bureaucracy for effective solutions and better results.