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The term “bureaucracy” has acquired a negative connotation over the… The term “bureaucracy” has acquired a negative connotation over the years, particularly among the school of “new” management advocates. According to Webster:Definition of bureaucracy1 a body of nonelected government officialsan administrative policy-making group2 government characterized by specialization of functions, adherence to fixed rules, and a hierarchy of authority3 a system of administration marked by officialism, red tape, and proliferation As you can see, the term bureaucracy is neither good or bad; just a reference to a type of organization. In the criminal justice field organizations tend to lean towards the bureaucratic style by their very nature, top down, traditional, autocratic and (in police & corrections) a paramilitary style of supervision. This traditional approach was the standard for most law enforcement and correctional organizations during the 50s, 60s, and early 70s. However, we learned that the autocratic/military method is not always effective. Younger generations, post-baby boomers, were raised to question the status quo and not readily accept the generally accepted dogma; that those in charge always know first. A promotion does not confer automatic insight nor wisdom. As a new sergeant, I was walking proof of that. Sounds familiar? Newer management and leadership studies in the 80s and 90s introduced different concepts of leadership and questioned the top-down approach. An agile organization is one that can quickly adapt new strategies, and processes, and prepare their people for new challenges, internal or external. This is my definition. Some call them learning organizations. In today’s organizations, strapped by diminishing resources and increased workloads, the importance of effective work teams is critical. The days of the lone ranger are gone. There is considerable value in harnessing the combined horse power of a group of individuals towards solving a problem. The atomic bomb and thus the end of WWII came about by a group of scientists and military people brought together to achieve one goal. Learning organizations (those dedicated to supporting employees to “think outside the box” and support fresh thinking) utilize the power of teams to address new challenges and transform itself into a leaner, more aggressive, progressive agency. The concept came about from a book by Peter Senge, who introduced the methods of learning organizations in his 1990 book The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization. Truly learning organizations encourage free thinking, innovation and risk taking and are “outward thinking,” in other words the staff is motivated to look at problem solving from a systems perspective; how will the solution not only influence the agency but the rest of the town/city/county/state.  The critical question …is your organization stuck in the bureaucratic model? Does it take too long to adapt to change? Is independent thinking encouraged? Are your managers “agile” or are they living in the past? What are your thoughts. Explain Law Social Science Criminal Justice CJA 474 474

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