Accession Number:

ADA592825

Title:

Adaptive Bureaucracy and Creative Destruction Creating Maneuver Space in the DOD Bureaucracy

Descriptive Note:

Research paper

Corporate Author:

MERCK AND CO INC WHITEHOUSE STATION NJ

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

2013-04-01

Pagination or Media Count:

38.0

Abstract:

This paper studies the characteristics of bureaucratic behavior in general, and in American representative government in particular, with recommendations for leaders in the Department of Defense. Rather than chronicle or endorse existing business methods or techniques to bypass bureaucracy, the paper proposes a new construct to clarify the root cause of ineffective bureaucracies the leader-enabled Rules-Implementation-Compliance loop. It argues that a leaders proclivity for rules-making is a complexity generating behavior that perpetuates a cycle that deepens the hierarchical structure of an organization, multiplies its silos, unnecessarily increases waste and inefficiency, and most importantly, discourages individual and organizational innovation. The paper proposes that only a new leadership mental model, Unruly Bureaucracy, which encourages routine creative destruction, can reverse this bureaucratic growth trend. This new model presupposes that American bureaucracy seeks to solve problems through the creation of new programs and processes and discourages the creative destruction of obsolete or detrimental programs and processes. The result is an encumbered bureaucracy focused more on compliance and adherence to existing bureaucratic rules and process than on innovating to adapt to a rapidly changing environment. In conclusion, the paper argues that only adaptive leaders and agile organizations are capable of reconciling the tension between our instincts for bureaucracy on the one hand and the need for autonomy to spur innovation on the other.

Subject Categories:

  • Administration and Management
  • Psychology
  • Military Forces and Organizations

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE