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The formal structure of any criminal justice organization is the officially prescribed distribution of authority and task responsibility among its offices and officials The authority of officials to decide to act or to delegate responsibility is prescribed in the structure and there is often some further specification of the conditions or bases for action Command and intelligence gathering structures specifying how new policies and procedures are to be communicated from the top to the bottom of the bureau or laterally The most readily identifiable characteristics of the traditional approach to organizational structure are the idea that there exists an ideal structure to which all organizations should conform to be maximally effective Specialization of function enhances the efficiency of bureau operations It enables officials to become highly proficient in a relatively narrow professional task and it generally allows workers to become more productive since organizing complex work into simple repetitive tasks increases the speed of production Specialization and the stability it brings is a mixed blessing to public bureau as many have noted We want and need this degree of predictability in a law-enforcing institution but we regret the rigidity that is the seemingly inevitable side effects Although specialization brings expertise it may also lead to a kind of unwillingness or inability to see alternative solutions to or divergent points of view about what a program should mean or how it could be implemented The terms centralization and decentralization refer to the degree to which decision-making authority is confirmed to the top echelons of the bureau or assigned to the lower echelons offices and officials Centralization is used to achieve greater control to monitor operations and to clarify policymaking and communication channels All these uses can in some cases be critical and to the survival and effectiveness of the organization Decentralization is clearly the popular trend in structure at least in part because of todays emphasis on responsiveness
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