Sunday, May 01, 2005

Bureaucracy vs. Business

Perhpas it is just me, but having attended a number of meeting over the last few months I am surprised how unique life is in a bureacratic institution. Education is a perfect example of this. The truth is, education has very few specific goals. Rarely do we want to accomplish specifc goals that are not intimately tied to the educational structure itself. From an interdivisional (province wide) perpsective the goal of education seems to be about facillitating individual progress. This means that specific learner objectives are replaced by more holistic goals. (ex standardized tests bad, empowerment good) While many from the business world scoff at this obviously inefficient method, the diversity of those involved may mean it can end up being more efficient that an objective oriented business model. (the loss of efficiency in the former is offset by the net individual losses in the latter).

I think churches are rather like this. There are very few specific objective that can be pushed. The ones that can, usually end up being more about the overall design of the structure than anything else. This means that churhces have to provide supportive holding patterns. Directions and training are more about developing the whole than they are about accomplishing specific objectives. Now this is very frustrating to some. However, like education, moving in any spefic direction ends up disenfranching people. Sure it helps some develop, but only at the expense of others. In education what usually happens is oscillation between a diverse, but repetitive range of philsophies and programs. Sure it is always changing, but it is never really changing into anything. It is an amorphous institute that requires large amounts of effort in the cyclic pattern required to meet everyone's needs.

Are religions like this? To some extent, yes. We like to think we have specific objectives. The temple seems like a great focal point. However, rarely are any single ideas run with the way they are in business. There is not pressure to get a project into production. Instead effort seems to be spent ensuring there is a venue for empowerment. Should it be any different? As frustrated as bureaucracy would be for me, I would say no.

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