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Cutting Through the Red Tape - Strategies for Dealing with Bureaucrats

by Roger Neugebauer
November/December 1994
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Article Link: http://www.exchangepress.com/article/cutting-through-the-red-tape-strategies-for-dealing-with-bureaucrats/5010027/

Bureaucracy is a giant mechanism operated by pygmies. - Honore de Balzac

The term bureaucrat conjures up the stereotype of a nit-picking, regulation spouting, heartless, bumbling paper-pusher. Yet bureaucrats no more fit a single mold than do child care directors or teachers. Some are rigid, others are flexible; some are brilliant, others are insipid; some are dedicated, others are self-serving.

What gives rise to the stereotype is that certain characteristics of life in the bureaucracy force employees to conform to standard and structured routines in performing their jobs. This article will describe these characteristics and how they affect bureaucrats' relationships with outside agencies. It will then outline some strategies for dealing with the types of bureaucrats child care directors are likely to encounter.

Life in the Bureaucracy

Bureaucracies provide little motivation to work hard. Individuals typically come to work for bureaucracies sincerely committed to making an impact in their field. However, new employees' expectations of becoming involved in shaping major policies and in planning exciting new programs are soon dashed. New policies and programs are generally developed at the highest levels of the bureaucracy and then turned over to the lower levels to enforce or administer. Lamented ...

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