Sample English Essays on The Iron Cage of Coping Mechanisms

In the modern world, people, government, schools, and hospitals rely on bureaucracy, a commonly used term to describe the organization of considerable number of employees to work together and provide services to clients. There have been extensive debates on whether bureaucracy is necessary or not. While a section of people believe bureaucracy is inefficient and wasteful, other people assert that bureaucracy facilitates the working together of people in compatible ways by defining the roles of everyone within a hierarchy. This essay examines the concepts of bureaucratic rationalism and coping mechanisms, and why they affect organizational service provision to their clients.

Bureaucratic rationalism has remained a central idea in many organizations as it assists in planning and organizing organizational goals. As per Zacka, rationalism has seen bureaucrats make decision that affects the lives of people without considering the consequences of their actions. The rational decision-making is meant to achieve mission and vision of organizations without looking into the welfare of the people. Besides, due to rationalism, workers are constantly pushed to make independent judgments because definite rules are missing to guide their judgment. At times, the rules may be present but are too ambiguous for an employee to decipher. Arguments concerning why administrators do not seem to care about the quality of services they provide to their customers are also anchored on the extensive roles that workers have to perform (Zacka n.p).  These workers are overwhelmed with responsibilities because they have to process clients’ needs, provide services, and adopt policies at the same time. At times, the fatigue resulting from such extensive work makes it difficult for workers to provide quality services as per the expectations of clients.

What people see as the uncaring nature of officers is a simple coping mechanism to deal with the challenges presented by bureaucracy. The responsibility of offering services to many clients present problems to workers. As outlined by Zacka, front line workers are often presented with tasks that command them to choose a bad and worse option (n.p). For instance, a bureaucrat may turn away a customer with inadequate documents to serve another person with requisite documents. According to Clegg et al., adequate documentation is required to protect workers and the clients when providing services (40). Such documentation may prevent a disgruntled client from complaining about being denied service. As a coping mechanism, a worker will quote the policies and claim that angry customers are just making up stories. Furthermore, workers may cope by establishing a delicate balance to guard personal emotions and save them for customers that need their attention.

The argument presented in support of bureaucratic coping is more compelling than bureaucratic rationalism. Coping strategies are used to provide services to those who desire them the most. This strategy is directed by collective consciousness. The term collective consciousness relates to shared organizational beliefs, attitude, and knowledge that confine a group of workers together (Nicki n.p).  As a principle, bureaucrats may strictly adhere to collective consciousness to turn away some clients while providing services to others.

Collective consciousness has made people believe that certain offices or organization serve specific clients, yet this is a strategy to deal with more serious cases. Further, the concept of alienation can be used to support coping. As opined by Kirsch, organizations or systems put in place laws meant to protect the welfare and rights of workers and clients (n.p). However, workers and clients are, in most cases, alienated because they are not in control of the processes governing their roles and responsibilities. Therefore, bureaucrats often follow these formulated policies to decide the customers to serve. As a result, this has been viewed as a way for bureaucrats to show their indifference. Notably, bureaucrats consider it a way of coping with having to deal with clients whose needs do not align with policies.

To conclude, bureaucratic rationalism allows workers to make decisions without evaluating the consequences. On other hand, bureaucratic coping encourage workers to deny services to certain customers to offer help to those who need it most. There have been consisted debates on whether bureaucracy affects service provision to clients. Therefore, this essay affirms that bureaucracy affect services because workers need to make immediate decisions, serve many clients, and enforce policies, all at the same time. As a result, workers have to design mechanism of coping to selective provide services to clients with adequate documentation and deny those with incomplete documents.





Works Cited

Clegg, Stewart, Martin Harris, and Harro Höpfl. Managing Modernity: Beyond Bureaucracy?

 Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011.

Kirsch, Adam. “The System: Two New Histories Show How the Nazi Concentration Camps

Worked.” New Yorker, March 30, 2015. Accessed November 14, 2019.

Nicki, Lisa. “The Concept of Collective Consciousness.ThoughtCo, January 16, 2019. Accessed November 14, 2019.

Zacka, Bernardo. “Why Bureaucrats Don’t Seem to Care. The Atlantic, October 12, 2017. Accessed November 14, 2019.