Meaning of Social Organization

Social organization is a pattern of relationships between and among individuals and social groups. It is the product of social interaction. Interaction among individuals, among institutions, among classes, among members of a family create social organization

Meaning of Social Stratification

Social stratification is the structured inequality of entire categories of people who have different access to social rewards as a result of their status in social hierarchy ~Ian Robertson

Factors Determining Social Stratification

  1. Wealth: Presence of wealth is the element of stratification in the societies of the world. People who own economic resources of getting wealth e.g higher sources of income have a superior status in the society
  2. Power and authority: power is the capability that makes others subordinate to a person. In all societies, division of labor is unequal giving rise to social stratification. The more power a person has, the more the determination of social stratification
  3. Occupation: the occupation or job a person has determines social stratification. Jobs requiring manual labor for instance tend to be lowly rated occupations
  4. Education: well educated people tend to get better jobs thus higher ranked compared to the less educated people have a lower status in society
  5. Prestige and popularity: highly recognized individuals are highly ranked in the society while unpopular persons are lowly rated

Meaning of Bureaucracy

Bureaucracy is a model of organization that is designed to accomplish tasks with the maximum efficiency possible. It is management of large organizations characterized by hierarchy, fixed rules, impersonal relationships, rigid adherence to procedures and highly specialized division of labor.

Characteristics of Bureaucracy

Max Weber argues that the bureaucratic organizational form is characterized by 6 features;

  1. Specialization and division of labor: with specialization everyone has a specific job to do and often becomes an expert at it. with division of labor, every task is broken down into component parts and different people work on different parts of the task
  2. Hierarchical authority structures: there’s a firm chain of command. Every worker has their own place and everyone’s work is overseen by someone on the next level up
  3. Rules and regulations: have set of formal rules (standard operating procedures) which are clear written instructions for each specialized job at every level of hierarchy
  4. Technical competence guidelines: bureaucratic members are specially trained for their specific roles
  5. Impersonality and personality indifference: in a bureaucracy, rules come before people, no individual receives special treatment
  6. Standard of formal written communication: documents such as memos, letters etc are the heart of the organization and the most effective way to communicate

Benefits/Advantages of Bureaucracy

  1. Central authority in bureaucracy makes it effective in organizing as duties are carried out in a systematic manner
  2. It supports hiring of specialized officials thus ensuring that employees know what they are doing and are able to maximize their knowledge and apply their skills
  3. It follows standard operating procedures thus employees follow instructions and procedures step by step when handling tasks ensuring outcomes are within specified range
  4. It sets no room for favoritism so all employees are treated fairly and equally
  5. It allows for merit based hiring and promotion. Whoever is appointed has the knowledge, expertise and skills to handle the job. No one is considered based on the connections they have
  6. Plays an important role in policy making. Employees forward to their superiors information that is sometimes important in formulation of alternative policies

Limitations /Disadvantages of Bureaucracy

  1. Can hamper achievement of results in time because hierarchical authorities have to approve of decisions forwarded
  2. It breeds boredom, low morale and affect productivity because of repetitive tasks in specialized tasks
  3. It results to passive, inflexible and rule based human beings since the rules and regulations imposed remove freedom of individuals to act and discern on their own due to restrictions
  4. Can result to inefficiency as there is less competition since hiring/promotion is based on merit
  5. Written records required in bureaucracies lead to excessive paperwork which could also bring challenges in storage space
  6. Discourages creativity and innovativeness due to technical competence guidelines that have to be adhered to in bureaucratic organizations
  7. Organizational rules and regulations are given priority over an individual’s needs and emotions (impersonality)

K.N.E.C Questions

  1. State 3 factors that determine the social group that an employee may join in an organization (3 marks)
  2. List three limitations of using the bureaucratic style of management in a public relations department
  3. State three disadvantages of the bureaucratic style of leadership
  4. Outline six factors that determine social stratification in an organization (9 marks)
  5. State four characteristics of a bureaucratic type of organization


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