Bureaucracy and Innovation

Bureaucracy and Innovation

Bureaucracy and Innovation

Bureaucracy and Innovation

Excerpt

It has by now become almost trite to call attention to the "knowledge explosion." However, while we are frequently reminded that this phenomenon exists, we are seldom told precisely why we should be especially concerned about it, and only rarely are we asked to consider its implications for specific institutions, such as those involved in the administration of large formal organizations. And yet it should be obvious that the "explosion" confronts us with an important question: Are the administrative institutions inherited from a period of information scarcity adequate to the needs of a period of information affluence?

In a period of information scarcity, needs are pressing and not easily satisfied. We might say that man has an excess of ends over means. He must concentrate on overcoming a reluctant nature in an attempt to meet his apparently insatiable needs. He perceives life as a struggle and organizations as weapons in that struggle-- weapons made necessary by man's biological limitations.

Under these grim conditions, the functional requisites of "production efficiency"--the key value--determine the nature of organizations and their administration. "Good" administration largely consists of making the organization a more reliable and manipulable "weapon," and the problem of "control" of the organization tends to dominate management's thinking.

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