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The evolution of the local bureaucracy

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(BY: BOVIC L. LUCERO) Bureaucracy as incepted by Max Weber, a German sociologist is a form of a hierarchical organizational structure where work is to be done by specialists, and people are organized into units based on the type of work they do or skills they have. In a bureaucratic set-up, the decision-making rests with higher management levels for all lower-levels to follow. It is based on the idea to treat all employees equally and customers equally, and not be influenced by individual differences. Employment is based on technical qualifications. According to Weber and as cited by sociologist Randy David, “people are appointed to their positions because of merit rather than because of who they are. No matter how small or low his/her role in the bureaucracy may be, every officeholder has a distinct contribution to make to the life of the organization. He/she does not own his/her own office, and so he/she cannot favor relatives, friends, and acquaintances. A strict wall separates the sphere of the office from the realm of the family.”

In my almost 28 years in the government service holding various positions, I have seen and experienced how the local bureaucracy has evolved and so much practices have evinced such as political patronage or the so-called “spoils system”; then there was the” professionalization of the bureaucracy” wherein top-notch and selected supervisors were enrolled annually in the Local Scholarship Programs of the Civil Service Commission where the grantee shall finish his/her masteral studies of choice within a period of one year. I was one of the handful members of the pilot class of such a scholarship grant and served as the class president. To date, the scholarship has produced a number of graduates. Next came the “humanization of the bureaucracy” in which the thrust is to sensitize public service and the organization’s personnel, that is, to treat people as persons instead of mere statistics. Again, I was chosen as one of the accredited trainers of the pilot Supervisory Development Course sponsored by the United Nation Development Program-CSC to instill human touch in all government processes and procedures. We still conduct the SDC till now.

In an evolution, things moves forward embracing the past to correct the present for a more suitable future. However, what prevails seems like a cycle, the bureaucracy wheels back to the old school of thoughts of favoring the domain of the unqualified closeness of relationships and the characteristics and traits of people instead of their meritorious skills, talents and contributions for organizational growth that berserks the time-consumed invested strategies to normalize the system. I call this phenomenon as Bureau-crazy!

(For your comments, please E-mail me at bovic_lucero@yahoo.com)




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