Bureaucracy and IT Project Management
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Bureaucracy is a way of organization whose basis is order, logic, and use of authority. It is meant to be efficient, orderly and fair as it involves strict rules, hierarchical order, rules and procedures, well defined division of labor and competence-based promotion (Styhre 2007). Bureaucracy is beneficial because it promotes clarity communication, precision, speed, reduction of individual costs and friction. However, in information technology project management, the application of bureaucracy is inappropriate as it is rigid, prevents creativity and innovation, and involves a several management levels, distortion of information, ignorance of mistakes and failures, as well as concentration on rules at the expense of the organization’s mission.
Bureaucracy is suitable in an IT firm project because it help in the promotion of precision; things are done precisely in the organization. Nevertheless, it is unfitting for such a project because it is highly inflexible. This implies that the system is not flexible and, it is therefore hard to apply it in such an organization. This is also because IT project management is highly dynamic in that it changes rapidly with time. Therefore, a set of fixed rules and procedures are not suitable in the management. This is because it will slow down the operations in the management.
In case there is some equipment to be purchased in the organization, the management has to go through some procedure which, in turn, leads to slowdown in the company activities (Barton 2003). This is because the protocol that should be followed in order to get the changes done in the organization. Although the system is beneficial in another organization because of order and efficiency, it is disadvantageous in the information management firm.
Bureaucratic systems of management are precise and orderly, hence efficient execution of the project. However, it is unsuitable in the information and technology sector is that it has a lot of paper work and routine and red tape. These bureaucratic aspects are inappropriate in any information technology firm. Too much paper work complicates issues in the organization as involves a lot of dignitaries whose signatures, opinions, views and ideas before any decision is made in the organization.
Moreover, bureaucracy is necessary in an IT project management because the workers will have to follow some strict rules and procedures in order to succeed in the project. Nonetheless, a lot of red tape is unhealthy for a fast changing environment whose effectiveness lies on swift decision making and actions. Conformity and strict adherence to some management rules can only bring down the organizational activities as much time is bound to be wasted in consultations (Styhre 2007). Besides, many company officials have contradicting views and ideas; hence they take a long time to agree on the implementation of a certain change in the firm.
Explicitly, bureaucracy is important in any management because it aids in the clarification of communication; hence efficient work. On the contrary, in an IT management is unnecessary because of deprives the personnel of their creativity (DuBrin 2008). Creativity is one of the integral components of any successful firm. Organizations that use organic management system are successful in that its employees are managed in an enabling environment; hence there is a lot of creativity in the firm.
On contrast, firms that utilize bureaucratic management system do not allow its personnel a chance to develop their creativity in the firms’ operations (Erbschloe 2002). This way, the firms remain unchanged since there are no new ideas or concepts that are necessary for a fruitful business venture. As a result, such a firm does not progress in its performance it sticks to the old way of operating. This, in turn, leads to losses and loss of clients because of inflexibility.
Additionally, bureaucracy involves reduction in friction in the project management. This implies that the management experiences little conflicts by the workers. Nevertheless, IT firms should not use bureaucratic system in management of their projects it kills innovativeness among the members of the organization. Instead, it is advisable that such form of management employs an organic firm of organization since it is highly flexible, allows for innovation and thus very efficient (Martin & Fellenz 2010). This is because of a chain of consultations that must be made before any action or decision is made.
Bureaucracy involves a vertical management system that is influential in the maintenance of the organizational order. However, it is also unfavorable in IT project management because it is mainly used to achieve private ends. Most of the institutions that employ a bureaucratic system of management fail because it is designed for certain individuals who have their own interests (DuBrin 2008). These individuals often reap its full benefits at the expense of the entire organization. This erases the whole objective of the organization as it will not be operating according to its purpose.
The use of bureaucracy in an IT project management helps in minimizing consultations made by the management in a decision making process. However, bureaucratic management makes the organization that operates like an individual that does not consider other people’s concerns. This is because the decisions made and actions made in the organization will be based in the opinions and consent of small section of the organization (Erbschloe 2002). For example, in case of recruitment, policies made and purchases made will only favor a few people.
Subsequently, the rest of the staff will feel insignificant in the organization; hence, failure to perform their duties effectively. In case of an IT project, there changes are so rapid and sensitive that all the departments ought to be aware of them (Barton 2003). Otherwise, the firm is prone to making a lot of losses or performing poorly in its activities. This is because customers adapt to the new technological changes; hence the firms are forced to move with the changes.
Moreover, a fast changing environment like the information and technology sector should use a bureaucratic system of management because it helps in the maintenance of discipline and handwork among the employees. Nonetheless, it is unnecessary as it causes people to concentrate more on the rules and procedures rather than working towards achieving the organizational goals (DuBrin 2008). Too much adherence to a certain order in an organization can limit the employees’ efficiency as they spend more time on ensuring that they are on the right track.
The fixed order, rules and procedures facilitates effectiveness in any organization. This means that supervision and frictions among the employees are greatly reduced. On the other hand, bureaucracy treats employees as if they are not trustworthy. In such an environment, workers in different departments are considered as if they do have poor judgment of things in the organization. In an IT firm, such kind of treatment is disadvantageous because it makes people work like robots that are programed to work in a specific way (Martin & Fellenz 2010).
Besides, bureaucracy is facilitates reduction in the personal costs. Consequently, there is equality and consistency in the firm (Lipsky 2010). However, a bureaucratic environment is inappropriate since individual workers do not get attention of the management. This is because no worker is highly regarded than others. As a result, the workers will feel neglected and treated as machines; hence ineffective work.
A bureaucratic form facilitates a lot of control and responsibility due to hierarchical leadership. On the other hand, it creates a stressful environment for the employees. Human beings need to be treated with great respect and trust in order to perform effectively in the business (Barton 2003). In information technology, the management ought to trust and have confidence in their personnel in all the departments. Too much procedures, regulations, rules and order stresses the IT personnel since the field is so dynamic.
Bureaucracy also facilitates speed in the operation of the organizational projects. Nevertheless, it is wrong to use have a fixed form of doing things because of the unpredictable changes (Erbschloe 2002). An IT firm works best when there are a lot of new ideas, equipment and techniques of operations. In order to keep abreast with the market forces, there is need for such firms to embrace these changes as soon as possible. Therefore, the use of bureaucracy is incongruous as it will only complicate and slow down the key processes in the organization.
Even though a bureaucratic system has a fixed order and control, it is wrong for an IT management to employ bureaucracy it causes failures and mistakes to be ignored or covered up in an organization (DuBrin 2008). As a result, the firm will experience a lot of losses due to ineffectiveness performance. In such an environment, detection of errors and mistakes is critical as it saves the firm a lot of damages and losses that could have been incurred.
Additionally, bureaucracy reduces personal costs in an organization. Nonetheless, it is unsuitable for IT project management as it involves denial of responsibility for mistakes (Barton 2003). The employees tend to shift blame form one person to another, hence making it hard to agree on the cause and solutions to the problems. Consequently, it renders the whole organization inefficient as mistakes tend to be repeated severally. Since bureaucracy ignores such failures and mistakes, it is unfitting to be used by an IT management.
Imperatively, bureaucracy helps in the clarification of communication in an organization. On the contrary, a bureaucratic management system is inapt for an IT project management because it involves great distortion (Martin & Fellenz 2010). This implies that bureaucracy distorts organizational internal communication to the workers in order to create a different of the firm from what it ought to be. Because accuracy, reality and reliability are highly indispensable in an information and technology, it is wrong for the management to use bureaucracy because it alters the real picture of the organization.
In addition, bureaucratic systems alter their data in order to make the situation appear different from the reality (Erbschloe 2002). Alteration of data can result in long term negative effects in the firm due to accumulated mistakes and problems. This is highly inappropriate in information and technology as it involves accuracy and reality. Distortion in a business firm poses great challenges of inefficiency and poor performance.
In a bureaucratic system, there are rules governing each department in an organization as well as distinct agendas (Barton 2003). These rules are important in maintaining unity, peace and order in the organization. Subsequently, there is no cooperation among the departments in carrying out their activities. It is for this reason that an IT project management should not incorporate a bureaucratic system in an organization. Explicitly, an information and technology sector cannot function as a single unit, but requires maximum cooperation by all the departments in order to achieve its objectives.
Additionally, in a bureaucratic system, the heads of department are responsible for the protection of their departments, their members and budgets (Erbschloe 2002). As a result, they are bound to lose focus of achieving the organizations vision and mission because of too much responsibility. Such an arrangement is unsuitable in an IT firm as it requires a lot of determination and focus on the achievement of excellent results. Instead, an organic form of management is highly recommendable.
Bureaucracy also involves several levels of management. This implies that a firm is divided into various levels of management, each assigned different roles and authorities (DuBrin 2008). This helps in the maintenance of control and responsibility in the firm. On the contrary, an IT firm does not have such management levels as most of the work is done as a unit. Many management levels complicate and slow down organizational processes that ought to be addressed very fast
Bureaucracy also minimizes personal costs and contacts in the firm. However, it involves impersonal officials who concentrate on a fixed order of operations. Such officials are most likely to ring down a firm because of failure to exercise intellectual judgment in work. Since information and technology requires excellent and intellectual judgments, it ought to use an organic system instead of a bureaucratic one in order to achieve its objectives (Barton 2003).
In conclusion, an IT firm is prone to rapid technological and environmental changes that need to be addressed as soon as they occur. Given that bureaucracy involves a fixed routine, rules and procedures, impersonal officials, and vertical management, it is unsuitable in the IT project management. Moreover, it kills creativity, innovation, distortion, several management levels, concentration on rules, ignorance of failures and mistakes, and slows down the project processes. Therefore, in order to function effectively, it is imperative that an IT project management avoids the use bureaucracy in its operations.