Beat Bureaucracy

Reforming bureaucracies

The focus of the Beat Bureaucracy website is not reforming bureaucracies. Instead we provide strategic ideas to Joe and Josie Average — how do we simple folk get service from a bureaucracy?

If you are interested in how to reform bureaucracies, here are some sources of information:

Web references  A website of news and views about the U.S. Foreign Corruption Practices Act. Entries include "In Search of Good Red Tape" and "China's Cleanup Continues."  Critique of Max Weber: the difference between his model of rational bureaucracy and how bureaucrats behave  A business analyst's views on how to reform corporations  A former GE middle manager talks describes his experiences  Ideas from a website editor on how to prevent bureaucracy from paralyzing site development

Books about bureaucratic reform

Busting Bureaucracy by Kenneth Johnston

Delayering Organisations: How to Beat Bureaucracy and Create a Flexible and Responsive Organisation by Doede Keuning

Up the Organization by Robert Townsend, who brought Avis Rent-a-Car to prominence in the ‘60s with the slogan “We’re number 2. We try harder.”

In Search of Excellence by Tom Peters, who popularized the concept of “management by walking around.”

Beating the System: Using Creativity to Outsmart Bureaucracies by R. Ackoff and S. Rovin. Chapters include “Why Systems Need to be Beaten,” “The Nature of Creativity.” “System Beaters: Their Stories,” “Sidestep the System” and “Threaten the System.” 

Books about organizational behaviour

Economy and Society and other books by Max Weber. Weber pioneered the analysis of modern organizational structure.

Bureaucracy by James Q. Wilson. Rigorous yet readable, this book describes how the U.S. federal bureaucracy works and doesn’t work, using well-chosen anecdotes.

Down from Bureaucracy: The Ambiguity of Privatization and Empowerment by Joel Handler. An analysis of whether privatization of government services leads to better service

Bureaucratic Language in Government and Business by Roger Shuy. Nine case studies describe language used in U.S. Medicare, Social Security, disability reports, product warning labels; and in the real estate, insurance and used car industries.

Bureaucratic Experience: The Post-Modern Challenge by Ralph Hummel. A pessimistic view of current attempts at reform