8.4 From bureaucracy to dictatorship

This previous analysis of bureaucracy concluded that bureaucracy is a pathological state of human organization, characterized by intelligence without understanding. Bureaucracy stems from the desperately embraced illusion, held by a particular subset of people, that human organizations can be approached as closed systems to be fully described in rational and formal terms. More specifically, this assumption is made by “superiors” who interpret the world either as filled with absolute truths or who believe that all knowledge outside the scope of their main competence is highly uncertain and therefore of little use. These “superiors” interpret any open world as too complex to handle – which it is true for them – and as such they consider complexity reduction the first priority of the organization. However they fail to acknowledge that this priority might be the result of their own limited, specialist, or even pathological understanding. As a result they do everything to bring the complexity of the organization down, even if this results in a mass destruction of the available competence and commitment.

It is this enforced attempt to complexity reduction that, if not curtailed, results in an organization in which people are treated as and (effectively) reduced to robots devoid of understanding (replaced by procedure) and empathic involvement (replaced by blind obedience). People are more treated more as a automatons or robots than as an assembly of highly capable, willing, and autonomous individuals who contribute to the greater societal goal of the organization. This treatment is not only highly degrading towards the living, breathing, and feeling people who form the organization, but it is also deeply misguided, because we need pervasive understanding of the world at any part of society, otherwise society will degrade to mediocracy at best or a deeply corrupt and self-serving robotic zombie-entity at worst.

So the bureaucracy text was an analysis of what happens if understanding, competence, and compassion are purged from an organization or from society as a whole.