What do you understand by bureaucratization? Analyze the process of bureaucratization in trade unions.


Bureaucratisation can be defined as “ the process of centralization and expansion, as well as the professionalisation of all institutions, and it occurs in government as well as other major power structures such as political parties, corporations, trade unions, the armed forces, religious, educational, legal, medical, along with other technical institutions, as well as what has come to be called as non-governmental organisations.” Its ideas are well-understood. It entails centralising decision-making through a strict line of authority, hiring professional “experts” based on uniform examination and certification requirements, requiring impersonal conformity to norms and regulations, and aiming near-complete action calculability. An officer in any of these hierarchies operates impersonally, on the ground of competence, and obeys and gives “legitimate” directions, that is, instructions constructed in line with the law and its norms and regulations. The system works like a machine with movable interchangeable components, and particular officials may be easily changed. It appeals to all modern rulers, who are continually seeking for effective, politically dependable, impersonal, and professional tools of authority.

Bureaucracies, on the other hand, are only the tools of modern rulers, not the rulers themselves. Although rulers are selected in a variety of ways across the world, the majority of them are elected rather than rising through the ranks of a bureaucracy. Regardless they must follow laws most of the time, election procedures are not bureaucratic; rather, electoral machines such as political parties and their followers are or aspire to be highly bureaucratic entities. As a result, those at the top who eventually control are elected by non-bureaucratic means, but they dominate with bureaucratic tools.


The ambitions of the “exploited” to guarantee an equitable distribution of power and riches are embodied in unions, the other characteristically democratic institution of contemporary times. They are, without a doubt, the first and most important non-governmental organisation (NGOs). Their roots and formal methods are inherently democratic: they were, and continue to be, largely voluntary organisations of people expressing their rights. They were exactly such entities during the majority of the nineteenth century, blooming in factories and industries as and when the need arose, mainly to safeguard their pay or demand greater pay and shorter working time. Factories were tiny, unions were small, and talks between a few employees and a boss were intensely personal. However, beginning in the 1980s, with a fresh wave of industrialization, new technology, and new management structures, tremendous changes occurred. Plants expanded in size, technology varied and got more sophisticated, and administration and ownership were separated, resulting in the birth of professional management. Workers’ protest movements became more complicated, with a broader reach that included many factories, an entire industry, or a region, while union-management dialogues became more professional and less personal. A professional union official appeared beside the professional management. Two new bureaucracies, corporate management and of labour unions, began to collide. Union officials were now chosen based on their qualifications, submitted to competitive selection tests, and then trained on the job, much as managers needed academic credentials, selection methods, and training courses. They might be anybody picked for their talents in organising research, devising action plans, administrative duties, and negotiation; members were no longer only workers advocating other workers. Because union leaders were expected to bargain on costs of production, productivity, profits, pay rates, standards of living, insurances, welfare, and other issues on a continuous basis, negotiating skills, particularly strong proficiency in mathematics and economics, were extremely important. However, the demand was not negotiable. Unions had to base their plans on the status of the economy, not just a particular plant or sector; their economic knowledge and ability to persuade a larger audience about the impact of their activities on the economy and the proportion of the people became critical. As union activity began to play a role in national elections, this became increasingly difficult. Political parties from of the left to the right sought assistance from labour unions, and the democratic socialist or labour parties with socialist beliefs were most active and had the biggest following from among working class. Because unions backed certain political parties, they had to plan, market, and act in concert with those parties and their agendas. Both the party and union bureaucracies had to work together, putting the average voter and union member well behind.

From the early 20th century, union, party, and civil service representatives had to collaborate together and on an equal basis with similar levels of competence as socialist ministers reached governments, and as social democrats have become governments or led coalition governments from the 1920s. Unions formed national organisations to represent their members on a national level. The Trades Union Congress (TUC) in the United Kingdom, and the Deutsche Gewerkshaftsbund (DGB) in Germany, the Confédération Générale du Travail (CGT) in France, were examples of such federations of unions, or head organisations. In a single nation, there might be more than one such federation, with each ideological direction having its own head organisation. These are just a few instances of what’s available. As a result, the initial union of a single factory was formed. Bureaucratization initially joined a federation of unions inside an industry, and these federations eventually established a nationwide federation, such as the TUC. As one might expect, these massive organisations could only be managed by full-time paid administrators, not by employees who took time off to care after the interests of other personnel. The Confederation of British Industry (CBI), which represents British capitalists, was a classic example of how these national federations consistently negotiated and signed contracts with national federations of employers.

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