Eficiencia y Burocracia

Alejandro Escobar Cerda

Profesor de la Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Administrativas
Universidad Central

 
El análisis económico y la experiencia nos enseñan que la habilidad empresarial es un factor de producción que los países necesitan para impulsar su crecimiento y desarrollo económico y social.

El empresario, ya sea que se desempeñe en el sector público o en el privado, es fundamental para identificar proyectos de inversión; lograr el mejor uso de los recursos procurando tanto la eficiencia técnica como la eficiencia económica; promover el cambio tecnológico y, por cierto, para asumir riesgos propios de toda actividad emprendedora.

Este empresario-innovador es la antítesis de lo que normalmente llamamos un burócrata, esta persona que diseña y dirige desde un escritorio, muchas veces sin conocer las características del terreno en que se debe operar. Así, el burócrata puede dificultar la fluidez de la gestión y poner trabas sin sentido. En síntesis, contribuye a generar ineficiencias.

Burocracia e ineficiencia existen en todas las áreas del acontecer diario.
No es monopolio del sector público. Por ejemplo: ¿Cuánto tiempo toma la formalización de una empresa en Chile? ¿Cuán engorroso resulta aclarar un cargo mal hecho vía internet, en una empresa comercial? ¿Cuánto tiempo hay que esperar para determinar el copago que resulta del aporte de una Isapre al financiamiento de una cirugía?

El común denominador de tales ejemplos es la burocracia, un estado mental.

¿Por qué el Gobierno conforma comités externos para estudiar temas más complejos, con el consiguiente costo en tiempo y dinero? ¿Por qué la General Motors ha establecido empresas separadas para producir y vender sus diversas marcas de automóviles? Para minimizar la burocracia, principal causante de las llamadas deseconomías de escala, es decir, del incremento en el costo unitario de producción.

Por supuesto que el burócrata necesita de una organización en la cual ampararse, teniendo en cuenta que es este el que hace a la empresa y no al revés.

La burocracia no es, necesariamente, un problema de números. Por ejemplo, con 300 personas podría formarse un disciplinado regimiento, o un grupo organizado de civiles, o un tumulto. Son tres posibilidades factibles. En consecuencia, hay algo más que un simple número de personas y ello parece encontrarse en el propósito de pertenecer a una determinada empresa u organización. De ser proactivo. De tener camiseta. De no atornillar al revés.

El burócrata ha perdido de vista el real propósito de su trabajo. No podemos pensar que el enemigo de una bibliotecaria es el lector porque le desordena los estantes. La verdadera finalidad de su trabajo es contribuir a la lectura.

Si bien para evitar ineficiencias hay que tener políticas claras, a todos los niveles, tanto en el sector público como en el privado, tener una política -una solución de carácter general para enfrentar problemas que se presentan con regularidad- no debiera significar una ley inviolable. Existe el criterio. A veces, hay que saber distinguir entre la política y su aplicación.

Si se acepta que la burocracia es un estado mental, no podrá eliminarse jamás. Pero puede combatirse con liderazgo, escuchando a los usuarios del servicio, con gestión adecuada y, sobre todo, contribuyendo así a la responsabilidad social que deben tener las instituciones a las que pertenezcamos.

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