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Books for those in ministry organizations who desire to take their leadership, teams, governance, and ministry effectiveness to the next level.

31 May '08

The common dysfunction of bureaucracy

Posted by T.J. Addington in congregationalism, organizational culture


Bureaucracy is a first cousin to control because it is perpetuated through unnecessary 'toll booths' that must be stopped at and tolls paid before one can move forward. Bureaucracy is not usually created to control (although sometimes it is) but rather to ensure that right decisions are made and right directions pursued.

Boards that require all items to come to them before decisions are made, or leaders who demand the same from team members, or layers of organizational leadership and oversight often create unhealthy and unnecessary forms of bureaucracy.

I define burearcracy as unnecessary toll booths that need to be negotiated by ministry personnel in order to move forward. Again, leaders have a significant role in whether or not bureaucracy is part of the culture.

Bureaucracy matters because it has a negative impact on the ability of the ministry to make timely ministry decisions, on the level of empowerment leaders and staff feel and therefore on their satisfaction level in their ministry. Where Return on Mission is affected by bureaucracy, it hurts the organization.