The Ruling Servants

The Ruling Servants

The Ruling Servants

The Ruling Servants

Excerpt

Every generation embodies its hopes and fears in idols and monsters which assume giant size by projection on the dark screen of the future. Bureaucracy is one of the most prominent monsters of our time. Its shadow hovers over all organized efforts of modern man, but its most frightening impact is due to an intimate alliance with Leviathan itself -- the State.

That our lives may be in danger of falling under the domination of large, irresponsible bureaucracies is a serious matter, even though the threat may be less than has often been claimed. This possibility is made even less palatable by the fact that the modern Leviathan is singularly lacking in grandeur and heroic stature. There is, indeed, something incongruous about it which seems to call as much for satire as for opposition, for this enormous whole consists of the combined efforts of a large number of petty agents. Like the spectacle of a Gulliver tied hand and foot by the threads of his Lilliputian captors, modern society enmeshed in the irksome bonds of bureaucratic restrictions provokes scathing taunts as well as denunciation -- but all clarion calls to action have remained largely ineffective, and bureaucratic routine has proved immune to the poison of ridicule.

The following study tries to tackle its subject from a different angle. Taking for granted that bureaucracy is ridiculous, inefficient (at least in some respects) and dangerous, it looks for its roots in the soil of modern mass society and its characteristic institutions. In recent years a great deal has been done to explore the nature of large- scale organizations and the management problems arising from them, and this knowledge provides a useful starting point for a discussion of the meaning of bureaucracy and the causes of bureaucratic defects. This analysis leads to the threshold of the problem which makes bureaucracy an issue of critical importance for industrial society: the change in the balance of power between social forces and the administrators of the large organizations which these forces have found indispensable for their purposes. In favourable conditions this change has made enough progress to warrant the question whether there is a . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.