The Bureaucratic Culture

Bureaucratic culture is a formal organization structure whose members share common attitudes, values, beliefs, orientations, and sentiments which are distinguished from others.

The bureaucratic culture has an internal focus and a consistency orientation for a stable environment. This type of culture supports a methodical approach to doing business. Symbols, heroes, and ceremonies reinforce the value of cooperation, tradition, and following established policies and practices as ways to achieve goals.

Personal involvement is somewhat lower here, but that is outweighed by a high level of consistency, conformity, and collaboration among members. This organization succeeds by being highly integrated and efficient.

Today, most managers are shifting away from bureaucratic cultures because of a need for greater flexibility. However, Pacific Edge Software (now part of Serena SoftwareOpens in new window) successfully implemented elements of a bureaucratic culture to ensure that all its projects stayed on time and on budget.

The husband-and-wife co-founders, Lisa Hjorten and Scott Fuller, intentionally established a culture of order, discipline, and control. This emphasis on order and focus meant employees generally went home by 6:00 P.M. rather than working all night to finish an important project.

Although sometimes being careful means being slow, Pacific Edge managed to keep pace with the demands of the external environment.

Some people like the order and predictability of a bureaucratic culture, whereas other people would feel stifled and constrained by too much discipline and would be happier working in some other type of culture.

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