Open Journal of Leadership
2013. Vol.2, No.2, 27-35
Published Online June 2013 in SciRes (
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 27
Bureaucracy Turned Botswaucracy? How Bureaucracy
Is Abused in Educational Organisations
in Botswana
Dama Mosweunyane
Department of Adult Education, University o f Bot swana , Gaborone, Botswana
Received February 5th, 2013; revised Mar c h 13 th, 2013; a c ce p t ed M arch 20th, 2013
Copyright © 2013 Dama Mosweunyane. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons
Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the
original work is properly cited.
Bureaucracy is the most important concept that has received prominence and used in most organisations
in the world. In this paper it is argued that the concept is often abused by organisations, since it is not al-
ways followed strictly by those who claim to employ it in their organisational operations. In Botswana it
would be argued in this paper that Bureaucracy has characterised most educational entities, but most often
with disturbing flaws resulting from varying applications of the concept that are not influenced by what
Max Weber prescribed. The emphasis in the paper is to demonstrate that there is a strong and unrelenting
departure from the original conceptual base by educational organisations in Botswana, which falsify the
concept. In some of the educational institutions in Botswana the concept is treated as home-grown than as
exotic, and yet that position is not often pronounced explicitly to reflect the cultural influences that ac-
company bureaucracy in the Botswana context. The paper argues that if bureaucracy could be imple-
mented by educational organisations in the way that Max Weber who is its founder prescribed, it would
produce desired results such as the rising of productivity and professionalism within educational organi-
sations in Botswana. The paper will further argue that what is referred to as bureaucracy within educa-
tional organisations in Botswana can best be termed Botswaucracy, which refers to Bureaucracy that has
been customised or corrupted for use in Educational organisations in Botswana.
Keywords: Botswaucracy; Bureaucracy; Education; Efficiency; Productivity; Organisations
Bureaucratic model is often abused by educational organisa-
tions in Botswana, which makes it not a panacea for addressing
problems that they face, such as low productivity amongst the
educationists and low performance by students. It is important
to note that leaders in the education sector in Botswana often
display autocratic tendencies and take unilateral decisions for
their selfish ends that disadvantage their subordinates, claiming
to be guided by the concept of bureaucracy. This confirms to be
true the point raised by (Moyo, 1992: p. 21) that, modern his-
tory has shown that totalitarian regimes can easily avail them-
selves of the bureaucratic machine with tragic results. It has to
be noted that the concept of bureaucracy which was compre-
hensively developed by the German Lawyer and sociologist,
Max Weber (1864-1920) as noted by (Dale, 2000), has been
misinterpreted both politically and by educational organisa-
tions, resulting in the concept failing to reform and strengthen
educational and political organisations.
There is a very important point to be made here. Bureaucracy
in educational organisations in Botswana has not responded
accordingly even when it had become clear that there was a
need for commercialisation of the education sector in the coun-
try. The quantification of work performance lagged behind,
which made it difficult for educational organisations to appraise
their performances effectively and notice the negative effects
caused by the exclusion of the junior staff members in the deci-
sion making processes in the education sector. This was partly
due to what Mises as cited by Coyne (2008: p. 12) observed
when the author averred that, government bureaucracies, which
are non-profit by their very nature are unable to engage in eco-
nomic calculations and therefore suffer from significant ineffi-
It has to be emphasized that bureaucracy has also served the
pseudo democratic regime in Botswana, which is aristocratic, to
foster agendas characterized by malversation or corruption for
the benefit of a certain dominant clique. It has to be stated that
due to non to less participation of some educationists in the
decision making processes bureaucracy became most unpopular.
This is partly because the exclusion of some educationists is
informed by the unwillingness to release some vital information
by their superiors for productivity to be enhanced.
As defined by Weber as cited by (Morphet, Johns, & Reller,
1982; Kamenka, 1989; Nutt & Backoff, 1992) bureaucracy is a
pyramidal and hierarchical organizational structure, in which all
power for making decisions flows from super ordinates to sub-
ordinates. It is important to note that the pyramidal and hierar-
chical nature of the concept had often been interpreted to mean
that it should be abused by those in authority by denying their
subordinates knowledge. This arrangement often generates
disgruntlement of some educationists because according to
Wren, (1994: p. 8) why humans have survived is found in their
ability to communicate and engage in group activities that re-
quire a marked degree of planning, cooperation, and coordina-
It is on the basis of militating against what Wren stated that
bureaucracy in Botswana has not produced desired results in
the education sector, but instead lessened the civility of the
people within educational organisations by regarding them as
less able to reason, think conceptually and communicate effec-
tively. The students in tertiary institutions like in the Universi-
ties in Botswana, in most cases do not get involved in the deci-
sion making processes even on matters that directly affect them
and decisions that are made are hardly ever communicated
effectively. This is despite having structures like Student Rep-
resentative Councils (SRCs), which are supposed to promote
communication within their institutions. The rigidity which is
unpopular with most people in the education sector in Bot-
swana has often been correctly associated with bureaucracy. It
is however the inconsistencies in applying the rules that render
bureaucracy less favourable. The Bureaucrats are widely view-
ed as impartial, even omniscient, servants of the public good
(Rowley, 2005: p. ix). This means they should not depart from
taking any action that would add value on the organisation be-
cause Bureaucracy should at the end of the day benefit the or-
ganisations. Sticking to the dictates of bureaucracy in the man-
ner that defeat the purpose for which the organisations exists
cannot be condoned.
This paper will examine the main areas of bureaucracy to es-
tablish how they were negatively affected by the falsification
and mortification of the concept in Botswana education sector.
Bureaucratic Flaws
The bureaucratic model as developed by Marx Weber as
cited by (Elwell, 1996), provides an ideal type for managing
educational organizations which are built around the following
guiding principles:
Written rules and official records
Promotion based on achievement
Specialized division of labour
It is to be noted that due to the aforementioned guiding prin-
ciples, bureaucracy is supposed to be implemented to foster
productivity within organisations, including those that provide
training such as schools. This means even where the concept
gets modified to become more accommodative and receptive to
demands, feelings and aspirations of employees, productivity
should remain at the centre of any such action.
Bureaucracy should be employed as a germane model that
can enhance the industriousness and harmony within educa-
tional organizations in Botswana. It should therefore be imple-
mented with the view and understanding that it should avoid
procrastination that affects the delivery of services. It should be
employed to remove the barriers that are usually associated
with it, such as those that have negatively affected investment
in countries like Uganda (Wiegratz, 2009: p. 231). In Uganda
for instance, Bureaucracy is often blamed for the delays that
occur, which hamper investment in the educational sector of
that country. It is important to state that the misconception of
associating the concept with procrastination is widespread
amongst educational institutions, which are supposed to dem-
onstrate the effectiveness of the concept. There is a strong per-
ceived failure of the educational systems to be responsive, ef-
fective and efficient (Lawton et al., 1995: p. 22). This situation
is often blamed on Bureaucracy, and yet the concept is not sup-
posed to condone sluggishness and unproductive behaviour
within organisations.
The most common problem associated with bureaucracy in
Botswana is procrastination, which results in the denial of de-
serving population the necessary services that are supposed to
come from educational organisations. In the educational or-
ganizations, such as secondary schools, it is often employed to
make it difficult for the disgruntled workers and students to
assess justice and fairness to tackle irrationality by superiors
who autocratically impose their own non official decisions on
their subordinates. This is because of the emphasise of bu-
reaucracy on the hierarchy, which often makes it difficult for
workers and students who are lowly placed to meet their senior
officials who are in the zenith of the hierarchy. This often re-
sults in disgruntled workers not working productively, which
undermines the bureaucratic dictate that advocates for the use
of the hierarchy in promoting productivity.
The other problem associated with bureaucracy is the influ-
ence of politicians in the running of educational organizations
in Botswana. This infiltration often undermines formalization
of organizational processes and promotes sycophancy and the
use of educational organizations to fulfil political agendas. For
instance, schools and universities are often used by political
elements to promote their political agendas, which sometimes
result in disruption of classes due to strikes. In some instances,
leaders of educational organisations, such as school heads, are
not appointed on merit but on their affiliation to the ruling par-
ty. It is important to note that some adjustments to the concept
are not always done in the interest of the educational organisa-
tions and yet bureaucracy is supposed to place organisations
first before personal interests at all costs. Some adjustments
though falsely referred to as influenced by bureaucracy they are
politically motivated. This resonates with what (Jreisat, 1997)
observed that, the predicament for managers inorganizations is
how to truly serve professional ethics, efficiency, and effec-
tiveness by avoiding political corruptive influences and erratic
as well as turbulent environmen t s .
Written Rules and Official Records
The written rules are sometimes used to make it difficult for
the teachers, lecturers, tutors and learners to disseminate knowl-
edge on matters that they are conversant on and yet the rules
under the bureaucratic system are not supposed to throttle com-
munication that is necessary for organisational progress. It has
to be indicated that bureaucracy can enhance productivity and
industriousness, if it is employed with a deliberate aim of ap-
plying rules and regulations fairly, without any element of fa-
vouritism, nepotism, racism, malversation or any forms of dis-
crimination. It is in most cases what can be blamed on human
behaviour within organizations, such as schools and universi-
ties, which renders them chaotic structures that operate without
reference to written rules. As noted by (Wren, 1994: p. 9), hu-
man beings require rules and a means to ensure the viability of
organizations and such rules requires workers who fully under-
stand them. That is why it is necessary according to (Canales &
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
Aguinaga, 1998: p. 1) for the employer to have educated people
to ensure that they make sure the regulations are explained
thoroughly and followed accordingly.
It has to be noted that the process of educating the employees
to comprehend regulations is not always given priority in Bot-
swana’s educational organisations, which reinforces the habit of
ignoring rules and regulations when taking decisions. Rules are
often replaced by the use of discretion by the protagonists
within educational organisations in Botswana, which result in
unprofessional conduct by unscrupulous individuals who are
charged with the responsibility to ensure that regulations and
rules are followed.
The excuse that is normally given for side-lining both stu-
dents and junior members of staff in the decision making proc-
ess pertaining to the formulation of rules and communicating
them is resource constraint or impecuniousness. The bureauc-
racy is at times used to justify imposition of rules and regula-
tions on those at the bottom of the hierarchy, which in most
cases is not done fairly. This compromises standardisation and
fairness as well as taking decisions in the best interest of the
organisations. For instance, the regulations are sometimes used
in the Botswana education sector to compel junior officers who
are not wanted in the cities and big villages by their superiors to
go and work in less resourced rural areas. This goes against
bureaucracy, which is supposed to eliminate any kind of emo-
tional and other personal biases like love, hate and contempt
(Ahmed, 1995: p. 20).
The other area where bureaucracy is used to justify imposi-
tion in educational organisations in Botswana is in the area of
curriculum design. The curricula are usually imposed on the
subordinates by their superiors, which allows for the mainte-
nance of an education system that maintain the status quo, so
that the rules and regulations benefit those who make them than
the educational organisations. As noted by Freire as cited by
(Hurtado, 2007: p. 75), it would be naive to think that the domi-
nant classes will create a form of education that allows the
dominated classes to critically perceive social injustice. It is
important to note that by imposing regulations to serve the in-
terest of a certain class that constitutes a departure from bu-
reaucracy, which should put the interests of the organisations
before those of the privileged.
The bureaucratic model should be truly mechanistic as op-
posed to being organic, which led (Grant, 1999; Wren, 1994;
Hawkins & Shohet, 2006) to echo that, bureaucratic organisa-
tions should be formalised to eliminate the features that charac-
terise human societies and human behaviour. Due to the rigidity
that defines bureaucracy; educational organisations such as
schools are supposed to design curricula for enhance learning
than to serve the interests of the privileged elite.
It has to be noted that in majority of cases in Botswana edu-
cational institutions societal influence is often entertained,
which render them less objective. For example, school regula-
tions can be compromised to cater for a student or a teacher
who is bereaved, which allows for the use of the discretion of
the leader or protagonist. This means similar situations can be
dealt with differently, depending on the attitude of the individ-
ual in charge of a school or an e ducational institut i o n .
Part of the problem that is common in Botswana’s educa-
tional entities is that those people who take management posi-
tions in majority of cases do not receive any training to prepare
them to actualise theories that are commonly employed, such as
bureaucracy. This limitation often results in such officials gen-
erating rules and regulations that present bureaucracy as only
characterised by coercion or as punishment centred or deliber-
ately misinterpreting the pillars of the concept. Where elites
within the educational entities are comfortable with the use of
regulations, they tenaciously hold to them and do not do the
same if their interests are jeopardised. This presents the educa-
tional organisations in Botswana as inconsistent and sometimes
irrational, which is not concomitant with the concept of bu-
In some situations educational organisations refuse to yield
in the use of the regulations blaming that rigidity on bureauc-
racy, which affects the degree at which educational organisa-
tions in Botswana become creative and innovative. It is impor-
tant to note that under bureaucracy rules and regulations are not
supposed to be compromised, but that should be done by ex-
perts who are aware of the outcome of such inflexibility. For
instance, in Asia, Thailand has managed the bureaucratization
of governmental roles and authority, which has allowed for the
combined Western forms with conspicuously divergent tradi-
tional patterns. Educational organisations in Botswana in ma-
jority of cases deviate from bureaucratic prescriptions just like
in Thailand, but this is usually by accident because the country
does not have its own form of bureaucracy that could be de-
scribed as traditional or locally brewed. The modifications that
are made to the concept are not well guided and are not publi-
cised. It has to be noted that most of the management develop-
ment programmes are either conducted by foreigners with little
understanding of the local contexts, or the trainees are sent
abroad where the organisation and managerial contexts are ra-
dically different (Kiggundu, 1993: p. 171). It is important to
mention that this arrangement has made educational organisa-
tions in Botswana less creative and in some cases irrelevant. It
is this limitation that is partly responsible for lack of develop-
ment of germane educational concepts for Botswana and the
corruption of exotic concepts.
As stated by (Moorhead & Griffin, 1992: p. 511), it is worth
noting that without creativity, organisations would not change,
and their employees stagnate. The stagnation of employees and
lack of change in organisations should be understood to relate
significantly to the development of the educational organisa-
tions, which are vehicles through which Botswana can develop.
It is indisputable that in a situation where organisations and
employees do not devise appropriate strategies that can lead to
change within them, development cannot be realised because
alterations to the concepts such as bureaucracy will be haphaz-
ard and therefore inconsistent. According to Jaques as cited by
(Pugh & Hickson, 1989), the organisation and control of bu-
reaucracy can be designed so as to ensure that the consequential
effects on behaviour are in accordance with the needs of educa-
tional organisations. It has to be admitted that education in
Botswana has failed over the years to instil in its recipients the
desire to formally change concepts such as bureaucracy. This is
the weakness to which the underdevelopment of the education
sector in Botswana can be attributed. It has to be admitted that
changes on bureaucracy are not meant to benefit educational
organisations, but instead are for personal goals, which mili-
tates against the motivation that led to the invention of the con-
cept. Bureaucracy within the education sector in Botswana is
therefore not ideologically responsive to challenges of trans-
formation of educational organisations.
Bureaucracy and Orthodoxy
It is important not to ignore the Eurocentric and Americo-
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 29
centric influences that are conveyed through the organisational
rules and regulations in Botswana, and how that contributes
towards lack of positive change within the education sector. For
instance, despite available evidence pointing to the fact that
bureaucratic system started in Africa, African countries like
Botswana are failing to modernise and contextualise the con-
cept through its education sector. As pointed out by (Kamenka,
1989: p. 15), the first more stable, consistent and highly elabo-
rate bureaucratic administration is that which governed ancient
Egypt. It has to be noted that the Egyptian kind of bureaucracy
was characterised by what in the modern day administrative
system can easily qualify as corruption. The reason for this is
because as observed by (Kamenka, 1989: p. 15), bureaucracy in
Egypt emerged out of the royal household and did not display
any association to the emergence of the concept. In the early
period, high officials were sons, brothers, uncles, nephews and
cousins of the king. This can be said to be closely related to
what is prevalent within educational organisations in Botswana,
which are characterised by favouritism based on corporate in-
cest, nepotism and tribalism.
Bureaucracy in educational organisations in Botswana is also
heavily influenced by the existence of informal traditional be-
liefs and cultural dictates, which are never acknowledged in its
implementation. The regulations that govern educational or-
ganisations in Botswana ignore the blood relations, ethnic rela-
tions and power dynamics that exist within them. For instance,
the use of this form of relations often disadvantages the minor-
ity groups that do not partake in the formulation of rules and
regulations that govern the educational organisations. Basarwa
(San or Bushmen) for example, struggle to get employment
within the education sector in Botswana because there are dis-
persed, ill-treated and denigrated, which goes against what
bureaucracy advocates for. According to Dale (2000: p. 133)
Bureaucracy dictates that recruitment should be done according
to professional criteria and impersonal norms. In Botswana as
elsewhere in Africa, the educational system is largely incom-
patible with internal organisational needs (Mengisteab, 1996: p.
16). As much as the regulations provide some legal framework
that could be employed to make the workers conform and con-
duct themselves profes si o na ll y, t he y are often abused.
It is important to echo that legislations in the educational
sector in Botswana regulations are often used to oppress those
who are against sycophancy and ostentation, by those who
abuse their power. As we appreciate that existence of regula-
tions and rules can be instrumental in guarding against abuse of
power by those in authority, we should also acknowledge that
human nature, such as selfishness and hatred has often led to
serious disregard for regulations in the education sector in
Botswana. The promotions of staff in the education sector in
Botswana often benefit those who are keen in maintaining the
status quo than those who are creative, which asphyxiates
growth. This position resonates well with what (Hooton, 1997)
identified as a problem, when the author echoed that bureau-
crats are not rewarded for creativity.
Bureaucracy has remained steadfast in undermining any
voices of members of the organisations who do not weld power
because of their subordinate positions. It has held tenaciously to
the prescription that authority and responsibility should flow in
a clear unbroken line from the highest executive to the lowest
operative in the organisation. This arrangement has made
power to be concentrated into the group and into the experts,
which raises the important question about whose interests are
being served by the bureaucracy (Jackson, 1982). To answer
this question, it is important to acknowledge that most educa-
tional organisations in Botswana are used for wealth accumula-
tion by those in power. This includes political maggots that do
not directly operate within educational organisations, but plun-
der resources from such organisations nevertheless. They in-
fluence the recruitment procedures so that their family members
can benefit from the organisations. It is also this flaw of poli-
cies and procedures that continue to benefit the unscrupulous
officials through consultancies and procurement tenders for
services and products to the educational organisations. The
regulations are only used to bar those who are to be ostracised
from joining the fleecing clique. It is therefore disturbing that
bureaucratic prescriptions are sometimes employed for personal
gratification than for the benefit of the organisation.
The bureaucracy model does advocate for a hierarchical ar-
rangement in organisations, where duties of individual mem-
bers of the organisation are clearly defined. According to (Ser-
giovanni & Starratt, 1979: p. 29) the school organisation has
developed a clearly defined and rigid hierarchy of authority.
The arrangement does embrace positions that are influenced by
power and authority. As reflected upon by Weber as cited by
(Morphet, Johns, & Reller, 1982; Hall, 1998) the positions in
an organisation are arranged on the principle of office hierarchy
and the levels of graded authority. As observed by (Kamenka,
1989; Glassman, Swatos, & Rosen, 1987) bureaucracy, aiming
above all at efficiency, takes place on the basis of an imper-
sonal, hierarchical structure of authority and a centrally con-
trolled and supervised delegation of functions. As noted also by
Maccoby as cited by (Northouse, 2013), the ideals of the bure-
aucratic social character are stability, hierarchy and autonomy,
organisational loyalty, and striving for excellent. In Botswana
the education sector does not always aim for efficiency through
the use of hierarchical structures because junior members of
staff can wield power that is derived from their social standing,
such as their matrimonial relationship with those i n power.
The hierarchical arrangement is supposed to entertain plan-
ning of activities within the organisation, which gets well sup-
ported by use of job descriptions, in which every member of the
educational organisation is informed about what the organisa-
tion expects him/her to accomplish. The hierarchy should also
place at the centre a lot of power and authority in the running of
organisations. It should undermine the decentralisation process
because the top officials are supposed to remain at the head-
quarters of educational organisations, which are in the cities.
According to (Jacoby, 1973: p. 167) the bureaucracy tends to be
concentrated in the capital cities and it represents decided cen-
tralist tendencies. The centralisation of authority and power is
supposed to beal ways well guarded. However, this does not
suggest that educational organisations should abuse this provi-
sion and become unproductive, resulting from their disregard
for those stakeholders who are not at the centre of the educa-
tional hierarchy.
The educational organisations in Botswana use the hierar-
chical principle to abdicate their responsibilities in the rural
schools, which are usually left with less resources, less com-
mitted teachers and demotivated learners. There is also lack of
participation of some stakeholders, such as the ordinary people
in the activities of the education sector in Botswana, which is in
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
compliance with what bureaucracy dictates. According to
(Lewis & Lewis, 1983: p. 76), once the organisation has deter-
mined its basic mission, every part of it must be devoted to
carrying out the tasks implied. There is no room for activities
not related directly and rationally to the key objectives that
have been identified by those at the top of the management
hierarchy. It is important to note that, centralisation and control
that is promoted through bureaucracy is inherent in hierarchy
and process (Chambers, 1993: p. 65). In the case of Botswana,
it is important to note that educational organisations do often
ignore professionalism that is characterised by fulfilment of
theoretical prescriptions because corruption sometimes takes
precedence over everything else. For example, individual mem-
bers of society can have much influence in the running of the
schools because of their financial support to the schools.
Bureaucracy tends to result in oligarchy or rule by the few
officials at the top of the organisation (Elwell, 1999; Mengis-
teab, 1996). In the case of educational organisations in Bot-
swana it is not always the top officials who decide because
power of decision making can be as a result of socio-economic
and socio political positions, even of those people who are not
education officials.
It is important to note that hierarchical arrangements for the
fulfilment of societal tasks exist in Botswana, which is often
based on age, socio-economic status and regimental segrega-
tion. For example, a son or daughter in most Botswana cultures
is not allowed to give orders to his/her mother or father, which
in the modern bureaucratic educational organisations is accept-
able. The authority and power in modern educational organisa-
tions is supposed to be derived from policies and legislations,
which are supposed to be followed by members of the organi-
sations and other stakeholders. It has to be indicated that there
is a clash when it comes to what the modern educational or-
ganisations believe in, as opposed to what is culturally enter-
tained in Botswana traditional settings. For instance, Botswana
educational organisations encourage the concomitant absence
of a tradition of questioning, which combined with an essential
top down traditional culture of acquiescence before one’s supe-
riors often undermine authority that is formal or organisational,
where a position of authority is held by someone who is tradi-
tionally lowly regarded.
The modern organisations have removed the humane element
in organisations by making organisations more formal through
promoting their adherence to stipulated regulations and legisla-
tions. The regulations and legislations are supposed to be en-
forced by those who are on the top of the organisational hierar-
chy on their subordinates. It is conspicuous that the fusion of
western approaches with Botswana traditional arrangements has
not produced the desired results for the educational organisa-
tions in Botswana nor to Bureaucracy. This is because there is a
deliberate departure from the bureaucratic stipulates, which is
echoed by (Deva, 1986: p. M149, who airs that bureaucracy is
expected to provide support to the ruling class, politically as
well as economically. In the education sector, mostly in univer-
sities, bureaucracy is responsible for helping to maintain and
legitimise the existing order, not to induce change. This is be-
cause educational institutions have ridiculously served to un-
dermine documentation of organisational activities and separa-
tion of ownership of the organisations. For instance, an in-
ducement to the education official in Botswana can be read as
paying homage, than as an illicit corrupt practice that is pun-
ishable by law. So, it can be concluded that to a large extent
bureaucracy have been falsified and/or corrupted.
The strong conviction that Weber as cited by (Elwell, 1999;
Martin, Knopoff, & Beckman, 1998) held was the separation of
official activities from those that are personal, resulting from
the rational legal authority that is anchored in impersonal rules
that have been legally established. This means bureaucracy
should be characterised by impersonal decisions, based on for-
mal rules that are applied consistently. Emotional expressions
are generally discouraged and are usually devalued as irrational.
As further noted by (Moorhead & Griffin, 1992), bureaucrati-
zation is conceived as the tendency towards the complete
achievement of the formal system, which ensures that employ-
ees make decisions in the best interest of the organisation rather
than for their own interests.
It is important to appreciate the benefits that can be derived
from impersonality in the running of the educational organisa-
tions in Botswana. It is so because impersonality emphasises
standardisation and the use of policies and rules, which can be
learnt by the employees. The rules and policies are supposed to
provide some degree of objectivity in dealing with matters that
affect the organisations, which is supposed to promote produc-
tivity. The rules and policies also promote standardisation,
which according to (Chambers, 2003: p. 65) has a certain de-
mocratic uniformity, in which all are treated fairly. It has to be
noted that though educational organisations in Botswana are
regarded as bureaucratic, they are not always fair in the treat-
ment of employees and trainees as rules are not always fol-
lowed. For instance, teachers sometimes use their discretion to
alter marks so as to maintain some established pattern. If a
school in a rural area was to obtain an outstanding pass rate,
such as ninety five (95%), an investigation of leaking of ex-
amination papers will be instituted.
The separation of what is official from what is personal,
within educational organisations in Botswana, though it could
help in curbing abuse of power is not always observed in the
bureaucratic sense. As averred by (Moorhead & Griffin, 1992:
p. 589), the rights and control of property associated with an
office or position belong to the organisation, not to the person
who holds the office. Botswana educational organisations do
not only experience abuse of power, but that of property as well.
For instance, schools buses and chairs can be used in the fu-
neral arrangements of stakeholders, including relatives of senior
officials. The use of organisational property is supposed to be
characterised by the highest degree of accountability under the
bureaucratic arrangement, which is not always observed by
educational organisations in Botswana.
The influence of the bureaucratic educational organisations
has promoted within them the design of policies to protect or-
ganisational properties from unscrupulous officials who may
steal from the organisations. Impersonality is also pertinent as it
is supposed to allow the organisations such as schools to oper-
ate even in situations where authority is delegated, because
rules are supposed to be enforced without any personal influ-
ence or favour. However, properties belonging to educational
organisations in Botswana are sometimes used for non-official
functions by those who are supposed to protect them. This is
possible because in majority of cases they are no mechanisms
to immediately detect such abuse even where the organisations
themselves are against it.
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 31
In the government schools in Botswana for instance, the fi-
nancial regulations are supposed to be followed that prescribe
how financial resources should be handled, which bars the
keeping of money belonging to revenue collectors or their col-
leagues together with that belonging to the schools. However,
schools in Botswana have had cases where some workers were
arrested for fleecing money belonging to the schools and other
educational institutions. For instance, the workers that are
found with money in excess of what they are supposed to be
having in their coffers do not always face disciplinary action,
which is a departure from what is bureaucratic. As noted by
(Heinz-Dieter, 1995), there should be few or no provisions for
informal or for dysfunctions that could lead to unanticipated
consequences or irrationalit y within organisations.
It is common within educational organisations for imperson-
ality to be employed to promote rigidity within them, but it will
be an exaggeration to believe that impersonality always informs
action within educational organisations in Botswana. In the
schools for instance, impersonality is sometimes flawed in the
interest of stakeholders, such as parents of students, who may
be playing an important function as members of the Parents
Teachers Associations (PTAs). They are sometimes allowed to
use properties belonging to the schools for religious purposes,
such as for conducting religious sessions. This compromises
accountability, which is important in bureaucracy. There is
evidence to suggest that bureaucracy is not only compromised
in Botswana educational organisations because as noted by
Murphy (2009), there are academics who rail against the op-
pressive, panoptic can-like nature of accountability, emphasis-
ing the debilitating effects of quality assurance mechanisms on
academic life. One way out of this impasse is to promote ac-
countability agenda in the context of Max Weber’s bureauc-
Specialisation and Division of Labour
The specialisation of labour is an important component of
bureaucracy, which as defined by (Mondy, Sharplin, & Flippo,
1988; Preston, 1987) means, the division of a complex job into
simpler tasks so that a person or group may carry out only iden-
tical or related activities. To qualify specialisation as an impor-
tant ingredient of bureaucracy, (Deva, 1986) indicated that most
important strand in the legitimating of bureaucracy is its ration-
ality, which is characterised by the use of specialised knowl-
edge in the place of tradition or charisma. It is further explained
by (Sergiovanni & Starratt, 1983: p. 29) that:
Organisations tasks are distributed among the various posi-
tions as official duties, there is a clear-cut division of labour
among positions, which makes possible a high degree of spe-
cialisation, which in turn promotes expertness among the staff.
This also enables the organisation to hire employees on the
basis of their technical qualifications.
In the educational organisations in Botswana bureaucracy is
used to justify the training of educational personnel in specific
subject and has tremendous influence in their posting, transfers
and promotions. However, implementation of specialisation in
the education system in Botswana has been made to become
divisive because educational organisations tend to be more
compartmentalised and divided. This is enhanced through some
negative behaviour, such as the use of jargon to undermine
those who do not belong to a particular field or an area of ex-
pertise. For example, experts who are in the pure sciences such
as physics, biology and chemistry have often viewed them-
selves as more important to the educational organisations than
educationists and those professionals in the social sciences.
This behaviour is also reinforced by the government through
the rewarding of such professionals for what they are, than for
the contributions that they make to the educational organisa-
The use of fringe benefits that are drawn from the govern-
ment, such as scarce skills allowance, serves to paralyse the
fragile relationships within and between experts in educational
organisations in Botswana.
It is important to note that some educational organisations,
such as schools do not in any way promote cooperation or ca-
maraderie through various strategies such as encouraging
teachers to work in teams, which results in low performance of
schools. It is important to also mention that the training of
teachers in specific subjects is not always accompanied by the
provision of competencies that promote working harmoniously
together. This goes against what bureaucracy is supposed to
enhance, which is the achievement of formulated objectives
through partnerships where persons relate to each other on
fairly equal basis (Dale, 2000: p. 134).
In case of educational organisations in Botswana, problems
associated with lack of collaboration are common. These prob-
lems are identical with those identified by (Erichsen & Golden-
stein, 2011) who pointed out that, collaborative work across
disciplines presents challenges, as access to different fields
requires engagement in a process of translation, which does not
only include consuming knowledge from other fields, but also
interacting with other disciplines’ cultures and understandings
that provide the context for that knowledge.
It is indisputable that professional specialisation leaves the
specialist in possession of the necessary knowledge and skill to
perform complex and meaningful activities (Sergiovanni &
Starratt, 1983). However, the work of specialists in schools in
Botswana can only add value if their work is brought into ra-
tional relationship with the work of others. It is important to
admit that schools in Botswana operate in a way that reinforce
and promote divisions in negative ways than in ways that pro-
mote collaboration, achievement of objectives through team
efforts and sharing of knowledge by different technocrats and
Efficiency is important for any educational organisation that
intends to succeed in its endeavours. This is because according
to (Mondy, Sharplin, & Flippo, 1988; Apple, 1990) it is the
proportional relationships between the quality and quantity of
inputs and the quality and quantity of outputs produc ed through
standardisation of procedures. It can therefore be safely con-
cluded, at least with the influence of aforementioned definition
that efficiency is associated with achievement of objectives that
is realised through the use of minimal resources. It is in view of
the importance of efficiency in organisations that it cannot be
ignored if educational organisations are to succeed. Organisa-
tions that are focused and guided by the purposes that they are
meant to accomplish cannot realise their objectives without
attaching value on efficiency.
Despite the importance of efficiency, the word has often in
majority of cases attracted mixed sentiments from management
experts. As averred by (Sergiovanni & Starratt, 1983) the mod-
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
ern organisation is seen by some people as a marvel of accom-
plishment and efficiency, though others view the same modern
organisations as a beast that dehumanises the sprit, cripple
creativity, and warps the personality. The latter attribute of
modern organisations can be safely attributed to their unwaver-
ing desire to achieve the necessary amount of efficiency. It is
the desire to realise efficiency that has often provoked some
management experts to attack bureaucracy for its dehumanising
characteristics. The efficiency that the bureaucratic form of
management is supposed to promote is often viewed as lacking
because as noted by (Hersey, Blanchard, & Johnson, 1996;
Dale, 2000: pp. 133-134): Bureaucracy has the propensity to
encourage lack of innovative ability (due to the rigidity of
structures and procedures), narrow technical perspectives
(linked to detailed specification of tasks and high specialisa-
tion of skills), inefficient resource use (because of cumbersome
procedures or because contributions by individuals may not be
clearly exposed in the maze of interactions), and difficult access
to the organisation for outsiders due to high formality of rela-
It is important gathering from Dale’s contribution that the
defeat of bureaucracy is often attributed to its disregard for the
values associated with maintaining the autonomy of workers to
app ly t hei r c ognitive abilities in performing organisational ta sk s.
Its rigidity is viewed as responsible for low productivity result-
ing from disgruntlement, which is a result of the treatment of
workers as minors who can not make decisions without being
coerced to do so.
In the case of Botswana educational entities it is not the ap-
plication of bureaucracy that is responsible for its underperfor-
mance. It is instead the inconsistencies in its application that is
responsible for its demotivating effects. For instance, personnel
in educational organisations are not always exposed to the same
treatment because of personal judgement or corruption by some
senior officials. It can therefore be concluded that bureaucracy
is not bringing results to organisations because it is marred by
actions that do not always ascribe to its principles. The educa-
tional organisations in Botswana are not purely bureaucratic
because they are submerged in personal relatedness that influ-
ences some decisions. It has to be noted that Bureaucratic effi-
cient organisations are high task oriented and are low on per-
sonal relatedness (Hawkins & Shohet, 2006).
As noted by (Jreisat, 1999: p. 234) organisations do not exist
in a vacuum; their environments have critical effects on every
aspect of their performance. The political, legal, economic, and
cultural elements of society exert a variety of pressures and
influences on the management of organisations. In view of the
points raised by Jreisat, it can be safely concluded that those
organisations that do not parry off the pressures in the envi-
ronments where they operate, such as those in Botswana, will
continue to compromise on their employment of concepts such
as bureaucracy.
Promotion and Rewards
The bureaucratic approach calls for a systematic arrangement
that is deliberately entertained for rewarding productivity. As
indicated by (Moorhead & Griffin, 1992: p. 589) the selection
and promotion of organization members should be based on
technical competence and training. Favouritism, nepotism, and
friendship are specifically excluded from the process of selec-
tion and promotion. The workers are supposed to be remuner-
ated according to their contributions to the organisations. The
well-stipulated objectives in an organization, such as schools
are supposed to help in reducing favouritism; nepotism and
other related managerial flaws in rewarding or promoting em-
It is important to allude to the fact that in Botswana educa-
tional organisations have often discriminated against their em-
ployees, which is anti-bureaucratic because according to (Ser-
giovanni & Starratt, 1983), the bureaucratic model should allow
the women and youngsters who are within educational organi-
sations to ascend to the positions of power and authority, be-
cause promotions should be done on merit, such as on seniority
and by achievement. But Botswana women have for ages been
discriminated against in schools and other institutions of learn-
ing. This is in the light of what (Bray, Clark, & Stephens, 1986:
p. 59) observed when they stated that, “in most African socie-
ties old people have a higher status than young ones and males
have a higher status than females”. The bureaucratic model is
supposed to allow even those people who will otherwise not be
considered for certain positions, like women, to be given the
opportunities through promotions. However, it has to be noted
that Botswana educational entities are characterized by gender
discrimination because bureaucracy is heavily abused and cor-
rupted within them.
It is important to note that the scholarships as well as promo-
tions are sometimes done in exchange for sexual favours within
educational organisations in Botswana. This is what writers like
(Findsen & Formosa, 2011) refer to as “phallocentric”.
The bureaucratic model, if well employed, can best handle
the crisis that currently exists in most Botswana educational
organizations, which as a result of discriminatory tendencies
are unproductive. Some of the employees get promoted because
of their loyalty to those who are in the political offices. It is
interesting that (Bray, Clarke, & Stephens 1986: p. 101), though
not African, have noticed that, “African philosophy tends to
define people in terms of the social context to which they be-
long, and this has important implications for the nature and
goals of education”. In a condition that is reflected, the workers
are not divorced from their societies, which often result in their
social standing influencing what happens to them at the work
place. This is despite the prescription that bureaucracy should
distance workers from their social context.
The educational organizations are supposed to be objective
and develop the curricula, which provide guidance on which
courses to be offered. It can then be used to influence the ap-
praisal of the employees, which may affect negatively or posi-
tively their rewards or promotions. This bureaucratic arrange-
ment is supposed to motivate the workers since even those who
do not meet the criteria for promotion get to know why they are
not considered. It is a motivating factor for workers to be in-
formed about guiding principles that are employed for their
promotions and other rewards. It is important to highlight that
the manipulation of bureaucratic principles in the Botswana
education system has made it possible for those in power to
disadvantage some educationists with impunity.
The bureaucratic model does value the use of promotion and
rewards for those employees who perform outstandingly, not
those who are related in whatever way to those with the power
to reward. It is as a result of this arrangement that productivity
get fostered, as the workers perform their duties knowing that
they will be rewarded or promoted on merit not because of
socio-economic, socio-political or socio-cultural factors.
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 33
The use rewards and promotions to make people work pro-
vide a framework from which those who want to be rewarded
can excel or invest their time on what they are expected to do.
For instance, the university has also well-defined grades that
students can receive depending on their performance academi-
cally. However, it has to be indicated that Botswana educa-
tional organisations including universities have in some cases
had educationists that base their grading on ethnicity, age, sex
and social relations. Some educational organizations are still
phallocentric as women are rewarded for their “positive re-
sponses” to advancements by their superiors. This has served to
undermine and mortify bureaucracy, which has now become a
concept that is negatively perceived by those who are victim-
ised under its falsification.
This paper pointed out that educational organisations in
Botswana claim to be employing the concept of bureaucracy in
their efforts to realise their objectives and yet they are marred
with the abuse of the concept. It is this rather common practice
and pretentious manifestation that has made the concept to be
negatively received in some educational organisations in Bot-
swana. However, it can be safely concluded that the concept of
bureaucracy has been turned into what can be termed Botswau
cracy. This is because of the modifications that are not pub-
lished that are made to the original concept that was founded by
Marx Weber to enhance performance within the organisations.
The concept is not always applied in the manner that promotes
productivity because the human element in some instances
influence decisions in non-scientific ways.
It can be safely concluded that bureaucracy is abused and
falsified by the unscrupulous individuals within educational
organisations in Botswana to fulfil their selfish agendas. This
development has made the concept to be viewed with strong
negativity mostly by those people who do not wield any ad-
ministrati v e and managerial powers.
Bureaucracy has now come to be most often associated with
waste of time, imposition of instructions and decisions from
those in authority to fulfil their own agendas. Bureaucracy is
not often presented formally by all those individuals who claim
to be employing it on their educational pursuits. It is concluded
that though bureaucracy is employed by different players in
different ways, those players do not always acknowledge the
deliberate adjustments that they make on the concept to suit
their varying agendas. It is this situation that has made bu-
reaucracy less attractive to the junior members of staff and
students within educational entities in Botswana. It is indisput-
able that Bureaucracy should be characterised by obtrusion of
decisions by those who are legitimately empowered to do that
and this should be applied objectively. It has to be pointed out
that Botswana educational organisations do compromise in
their employment of the concepts, which result in corruption,
nepotism, tribalism and other unfavourable behaviours that
mortify the concept.
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