The Hegemony of the Bureaucratic Model

  • Colin Rochester


This chapter discusses the way in which bureaucracy has become the predominant organisational model in our society to the point where other forms of organisation are ignored and forgotten: it has become the ‘taken-for-granted’ norm by which we assess organisations and judge their effectiveness. The chapter begins by highlighting the key features of the bureaucratic form as well as highlighting its virtues and advantages. It goes on to argue that bureaucracy is not the only organisational form through which voluntary action can be undertaken, and introduces an alternative form — the association — that has been described by Billis (2010c) as the ideal type of voluntary sector organisation. It identifies the distinctive features of this kind of organisation along with the uses to which it can be put. It then uses the ideas of David Billis, that voluntary agencies are fundamentally ambiguous organisations that have been subject to a powerful trend towards hybridisation, to suggest that the intellectual hegemony of the bureaucratic model is an obstacle to the better understanding of the organisational expressions of voluntary action.


Voluntary Action Voluntary Organisation Voluntary Agency Legal Identity Legal Type 
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Copyright information

© Colin Rochester 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Colin Rochester
    • 1
  1. 1.BirkbeckUniversity of LondonUK

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