A STRUCTURAL ANALYSIS OF BUREAUCRACY: SIZE, COMPLEXITY AND THE ADMINISTRATIVE COMPONENT IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTS
The purpose of this research was to test certain propositions found in structuralist organizational theory in a specific bureaucratic environment--the Office of the Clerk of the United States District Court. The propositions derived from the literature posit that organizational size is positively related to organizational complexity but negatively related to the administrative component and that complexity is positively related to the administrative component. These relationships were investigated employing a more flexible and refined data base than those employed in previous studies. Although the propositions from the literature were generally supported, the research revealed several unexpected conclusions. The subtleties of the data base and the unusual characteristics of the organization under investigation account in some part for the conclusions that are at variance with the propositions from the literature. Among the more important insights gained was, first, a "headquarters phenomenon." The research indicated that the headquarters offices tended to be more structured and formal than other offices. Second, the administrative component of these organizations is heterogeneous with the functional responsibilities assumed by individuals varying between management, administration and other tasks in varying organizational sizes. Third, within organizational units with nearly congruent functional responsibilities and which have historically been assigned personnel based upon work load, there are striking variances in organizational structure and responsibility patterns within the offices. Some of these variances were evidently precipitated by factors not captured within the research data base, despite its refinement. It is speculated that the variances observed are derived from the unique judicial culture within which these organizations live, and indeed, upon which they were founded. The major uniqueness of the Federal Judiciary, which derives from federal judges' constitutional independence in judicial decision making, inevitably leads to a similar quest for independence in administrative and management decision making, and this quest ultimately affects organizational patterns. This independence, and a judicial resistance to bureaucratic standardization and centralization, are surmised to be contributing variables in the organizational patterns within the Federal Judiciary.