Bureaucracy or Adhocracy?

I found these incompatible complimentary binary terms today. Will add more later.

It started when I had to google my butchered spelling of bureacracy. First iteration was so bad that Word spellcheck wouldn’t touch it. Google, being smarter, guided me towards correct and orderly letter placement. Then tripped me into Wikipedia. Always a great excursion into knowing and learning more.

The Wiki page for bureaucrcacy, included the previous unknown term adhocracy. “Adhocracy is a type of organization being antonymous to bureaucracy. The term was first popularized in 1970 by Alvin Toffler[1], and has since become often used in the theory of management of organizations (particularly online organizations), further developed by academics such as Henry Mintzberg.” What a super & superbcool word and concept!

It got me thinking.

I was using the word bureaucracy in a fax to my supplemental insurance carrier while expressing my concern over repetitive and redundant claim paperwork. Except for the date of my signature, nothing in the form had changed over the past four months of three prior submissions. Seems like the duck is stuck on stupid.

I was still thinking. This time of the bureaucracy that had molded my professional experticse and experience. I resisted them too. For 21 years, I served in a global aersopace security and delivery service. 400,000+ employees, in two classes, commissioned and enlisted. Not to mention temporary contingency and supplemental contract workers, along with local nationals and third country nationals, scattered into part-time and near full time. Or to put it more simply and eliminate the bureaucratic baffle speak, I was a Senior Master Sargent in the United States Air Force. Status – active duty. Not Guard. Not Reserve. The USAF is a superb bureaucracy.

Since retirement, really transition to civilian status, I have worked for smaller employers. Neither over 100. Bureaucracy didn’t work. I struggle some about this to this day.

So my thinking led me to this conclusion. They were adhocracies! Small, nimble, collaborative problem solving, and all the best things that smaller businesses can become. Now, with this awareness, I can appreciate the need to temper my bureaucratic tendencies.

That is not to say that there is not the need for consistent applications of repeated processes and policies. Remain flexible and adaptive to the situation.

This is a good thing. Do you think I should thank the duck?


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