Bureaucracy (/bjʊəˈrɒkrəsi/) refers to both a body of non-elective government officials and an administrative policy-making group.[1] Historically, a bureaucracy was a government administration managed by departments staffed with non-elected officials.[2] Today, bureaucracy is the administrative system governing any large institution, whether publicly owned or privately owned.[3][4][5][6][7][8][9] The public administration in many countries is an example of a bureaucracy, but so is the centralized hierarchical structure of a business firm.

Since being coined, the word bureaucracy has developed negative connotations for some.[10] Some bureaucracies have been criticized as being inefficient, convoluted, or too inflexible to individuals.[11] The dehumanizing effects of excessive bureaucracy became a major theme in the work of German-language writer Franz Kafka (1883–1924) and are central to his novels The Trial and The Castle.[12] The 1985 dystopian film Brazil by Terry Gilliam portrays a farcical macabre world in which small, otherwise insignificant errors in the bureaucratic processes of government develop into maddening and tragic consequences. The elimination of unnecessary bureaucracy is a key concept in modern managerial theory[13] and has been an issue in some political campaigns.[14]

Some commentators have noted the necessity of bureaucracies in modern society. The German sociologist Max Weber argued that bureaucracy constitutes the most efficient and rational way in which human activity can be organized and that systematic processes and organized hierarchies are necessary to maintain order, maximize efficiency, and eliminate favoritism. On the other hand, Weber also saw unfettered bureaucracy as a threat to individual freedom, with the potential of trapping individuals in an impersonal "iron cage" of rule-based, rational control.[15][16]

Etymology and usage

The term "bureaucracy" is French in origin and combines the French word bureau – desk or office – with the Greek word κράτος (Kratos) – rule or political power.[17] It was coined in the mid-18th century by the French economist Jacques Claude Marie Vincent de Gournay[18]. Gournay never wrote the term down but was later quoted at length in a letter from a contemporary:

The late M. de Gournay... sometimes used to say: "We have an illness in France which bids fair to play havoc with us; this illness is called bureaumania." Sometimes he used to invent a fourth or fifth form of government under the heading of "bureaucracy."

The first known English-language use dates to 1818.[17] with Irish novelist Lady Morgan referring to "the Bureaucratie, or office tyranny, by which Ireland has so long been governed."[19] By the mid-19th century, the word was being used in a more neutral sense, referring to a system of public administration in which offices were held by unelected career officials. In this sense "bureaucracy" was seen as a distinct form of management, often subservient to a monarchy.[20] In the 1920s, the definition was expanded by the German sociologist Max Weber to include any system of administration conducted by trained professionals according to fixed rules.[20] Weber saw the bureaucracy as a relatively positive development; however, by 1944 the Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises opined in the context of his experince in the Nazi regime that the term bureaucracy was "always applied with an opprobrious connotation,"[21] and by 1957 the American sociologist Robert Merton suggested that the term "bureaucrat" had become an epithet in some circumstances.[22]



Students competed in imperial examinations to receive a position in the bureaucracy of Imperial China.

Although the term "bureaucracy" first originated in the mid-18th century, organized and consistent administrative systems existed much earlier. The development of writing (c. 3500 BC) and the use of documents was critical to the administration of this system, and the first definitive emergence of bureaucracy occurred in ancient Sumer, where an emergent class of scribes used clay tablets to administer the harvest and to allocate its spoils.[23] Ancient Egypt also had a hereditary class of scribes that administered the civil-service bureaucracy.[24]

A hierarchy of regional proconsuls and their deputies administered the Roman Empire. The reforms of Diocletian (Emperor from 284 to 305) doubled the number of administrative districts and led to a large-scale expansion of Roman bureaucracy.[25] The early Christian author Lactantius (c. 250 – c. 325) claimed that Diocletian's reforms led to widespread economic stagnation, since "the provinces were divided into minute portions, and many presidents and a multitude of inferior officers lay heavy on each territory."[26] After the Empire split, the Byzantine Empire developed a notoriously complicated administrative hierarchy, and in the 20th century the term "Byzantine" came to refer to any complex bureaucratic structure.[27][28]

In China, the Han dynasty (202 BC - 220 AD) established a complicated bureaucracy based on the teachings of Confucius, who emphasized the importance of ritual in a family, in relationships, and in politics.[29] With each subsequent dynasty, the bureaucracy evolved. During the Song dynasty (960–1279) the bureaucracy became meritocratic. Following the Song reforms, competitive examinations took place to determine which candidates qualified to hold given positions.[30] The imperial examination system lasted until 1905, six years before the Qing dynasty collapsed, marking the end of China's traditional bureaucratic system.


The United Kingdom

London customs house 18th century
The 18th century Department of Excise developed a sophisticated bureaucracy. Pictured, the Custom House, London.

Instead of the inefficient and often corrupt system of tax farming that prevailed in absolutist states such as France, the Exchequer was able to exert control over the entire system of tax revenue and government expenditure.[31] By the late 18th century, the ratio of fiscal bureaucracy to population in Britain was approximately 1 in 1300, almost four times larger than the second most heavily bureaucratized nation, France.[32] Thomas Taylor Meadows, Britain's consul in Guangzhou, argued in his Desultory Notes on the Government and People of China (1847) that "the long duration of the Chinese empire is solely and altogether owing to the good government which consists in the advancement of men of talent and merit only," and that the British must reform their civil service by making the institution meritocratic.[33] Influenced by the ancient Chinese imperial examination, the Northcote–Trevelyan Report of 1854 recommended that recruitment should be on the basis of merit determined through competitive examination, candidates should have a solid general education to enable inter-departmental transfers, and promotion should be through achievement rather than "preferment, patronage, or purchase".[34][33] This led to implementation of Her Majesty's Civil Service as a systematic, meritocratic civil service bureaucracy.[35]


Like the British, the development of French bureaucracy was influenced by the Chinese system. Under Louis XIV of France, the old nobility had neither power nor political influence, their only privilege being exemption from taxes. The dissatisfied noblemen complained about this "unnatural" state of affairs, and discovered similarities between absolute monarchy and bureaucratic despotism.[36] With the translation of Confucian texts during the Enlightenment, the concept of a meritocracy reached intellectuals in the West, who saw it as an alternative to the traditional ancien regime of Europe.[37] Western perception of China even in the 18th century admired the Chinese bureaucratic system as favourable over European governments for its seeming meritocracy; Voltaire claimed that the Chinese had "perfected moral science" and François Quesnay advocated an economic and political system modeled after that of the Chinese.[38] The governments of China, Egypt, Peru and Empress Catherine II were regarded as models of Enlightened Despotism, admired by such figures as Diderot, D'Alembert and Voltaire.[36]

Napoleonic France adopted this meritocracy system [37] and soon saw a rapid and dramatic expansion of government, accompanied by the rise of the French civil service and its complex systems of bureaucracy. This phenomenon became known as "bureaumania". In the early 19th century, Napoleon attempted to reform the bureaucracies of France and other territories under his control by the imposition of the standardized Napoleonic Code. But paradoxically, that led to even further growth of the bureaucracy.[39]

Other industrialized nations

By the mid-19th century, bureaucratic forms of administration were firmly in place across the industrialized world. Thinkers like John Stuart Mill and Karl Marx began to theorize about the economic functions and power-structures of bureaucracy in contemporary life. Max Weber was the first to endorse bureaucracy as a necessary feature of modernity, and by the late 19th century bureaucratic forms had begun their spread from government to other large-scale institutions.[20]

The trend toward increased bureaucratization continued in the 20th century, with the public sector employing over 5% of the workforce in many Western countries. Within capitalist systems, informal bureaucratic structures began to appear in the form of corporate power hierarchies, as detailed in mid-century works like The Organization Man and The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit. Meanwhile, in the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc nations, a powerful class of bureaucratic administrators termed nomenklatura governed nearly all aspects of public life.[40]

The 1980s brought a backlash against perceptions of "big government" and the associated bureaucracy. Politicians like Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan gained power by promising to eliminate government regulatory bureaucracies, which they saw as overbearing, and return economic production to a more purely capitalistic mode, which they saw as more efficient.[41][42] In the business world, managers like Jack Welch gained fortune and renown by eliminating bureaucratic structures inside corporations.[43] Still, in the modern world, most organized institutions rely on bureaucratic systems to manage information, process records, and administer complex systems, although the decline of paperwork and the widespread use of electronic databases is transforming the way bureaucracies function.[44]


Karl Marx

Karl Marx theorized about the role and function of bureaucracy in his Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right, published in 1843. In Philosophy of Right, Hegel had supported the role of specialized officials in public administration, although he never used the term "bureaucracy" himself. Marx, by contrast, was opposed to bureaucracy. Marx posited that while corporate and government bureaucracy seem to operate in opposition, in actuality they mutually rely on one another to exist. He wrote that "The Corporation is civil society's attempt to become state; but the bureaucracy is the state which has really made itself into civil society."[45]

John Stuart Mill

Writing in the early 1860s, political scientist John Stuart Mill theorized that successful monarchies were essentially bureaucracies, and found evidence of their existence in Imperial China, the Russian Empire, and the regimes of Europe. Mill referred to bureaucracy as a distinct form of government, separate from representative democracy. He believed bureaucracies had certain advantages, most importantly the accumulation of experience in those who actually conduct the affairs. Nevertheless, he believed this form of governance compared poorly to representative government, as it relied on appointment rather than direct election. Mill wrote that ultimately the bureaucracy stifles the mind, and that "a bureaucracy always tends to become a pedantocracy."[46]

Max Weber

The German sociologist Max Weber was the first to formally study bureaucracy and his works led to the popularization of this term.[48] In his 1922 essay Bureaucracy,[1],[49] published in his magnum opus Economy and Society, Weber described many ideal-typical forms of public administration, government, and business. His ideal-typical bureaucracy, whether public or private, is characterized by:

  • hierarchical organization
  • formal lines of authority (chain of command)
  • a fixed area of activity
  • rigid division of labor
  • regular and continuous execution of assigned tasks
  • all decisions and powers specified and restricted by regulations
  • officials with expert training in their fields
  • career advancement dependent on technical qualifications
  • qualifications evaluated by organizational rules, not individuals[15][50][51]

Weber listed several preconditions for the emergence of bureaucracy, including an increase in the amount of space and population being administered, an increase in the complexity of the administrative tasks being carried out, and the existence of a monetary economy requiring a more efficient administrative system.[50] Development of communication and transportation technologies make more efficient administration possible, and democratization and rationalization of culture results in demands for equal treatment.[50]

Although he was not necessarily an admirer of bureaucracy, Weber saw bureaucratization as the most efficient and rational way of organizing human activity and therefore as the key to rational-legal authority, indispensable to the modern world.[52] Furthermore, he saw it as the key process in the ongoing rationalization of Western society.[15][53] Weber also saw bureaucracy, however, as a threat to individual freedoms, and the ongoing bureaucratization as leading to a "polar night of icy darkness", in which increasing rationalization of human life traps individuals in a soulless "iron cage" of bureaucratic, rule-based, rational control.[15][16] Weber's critical study of the bureaucratization of society became one of the most enduring parts of his work.[15][53] Many aspects of modern public administration are based on his work, and a classic, hierarchically organized civil service of the Continental type is called "Weberian civil service".[54]

Woodrow Wilson

Writing as an academic while a professor at Bryn Mawr College, Woodrow Wilson's essay The Study of Administration[55] argued for bureaucracy as a professional cadre, devoid of allegiance to fleeting politics. Wilson advocated a bureaucracy that "is a part of political life only as the methods of the counting house are a part of the life of society; only as machinery is part of the manufactured product. But it is, at the same time, raised very far above the dull level of mere technical detail by the fact that through its greater principles it is directly connected with the lasting maxims of political wisdom, the permanent truths of political progress."

Wilson did not advocate a replacement of rule by the governed, he simply advised that, "Administrative questions are not political questions. Although politics sets the tasks for administration, it should not be suffered to manipulate its offices". This essay became a foundation for the study of public administration in America.[56]

Ludwig von Mises

In his 1944 work Bureaucracy, the Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises compared bureaucratic management to profit management. Profit management, he argued, is the most effective method of organization when the services rendered may be checked by economic calculation of profit and loss. When, however, the service in question can not be subjected to economic calculation, bureaucratic management is necessary. He did not oppose universally bureaucratic management; on the contrary, he argued that bureaucracy is an indispensable method for social organization, for it is the only method by which the law can be made supreme, and is the protector of the individual against despotic arbitrariness. Using the example of the Catholic Church, he pointed out that bureaucracy is only appropriate for an organization whose code of conduct is not subject to change. He then went on to argue that complaints about bureaucratization usually refer not to the criticism of the bureaucratic methods themselves, but to "the intrusion of bureaucracy into all spheres of human life." Mises saw bureaucratic processes at work in both the private and public spheres; however, he believed that bureaucratization in the private sphere could only occur as a consequence of government interference. According to him, "What must be realized is only that the strait jacket of bureaucratic organization paralyzes the individual's initiative, while within the capitalist market society an innovator still has a chance to succeed. The former makes for stagnation and preservation of inveterate methods, the latter makes for progress and improvement."[21]

Robert K. Merton

American sociologist Robert K. Merton expanded on Weber's theories of bureaucracy in his work Social Theory and Social Structure, published in 1957. While Merton agreed with certain aspects of Weber's analysis, he also noted the dysfunctional aspects of bureaucracy, which he attributed to a "trained incapacity" resulting from "over conformity". He believed that bureaucrats are more likely to defend their own entrenched interests than to act to benefit the organization as a whole but that pride in their craft makes them resistant to changes in established routines. Merton stated that bureaucrats emphasize formality over interpersonal relationships, and have been trained to ignore the special circumstances of particular cases, causing them to come across as "arrogant" and "haughty".[22]

Elliott Jaques

In his book “A General Theory of Bureaucracy”, first published in 1976, Dr. Elliott Jaques describes the discovery of a universal and uniform underlying structure of managerial or work levels in the bureaucratic hierarchy for any type of employment systems.[57]

Elliott Jaques argues and presents evidence that for the bureaucracy to provide a valuable contribution to the open society some of the following conditions must be met:

  • Number of levels in a bureaucracy hierarchy must match the complexity level of the employment system for which the bureaucratic hierarchy is created (Elliott Jaques identified maximum 8 levels of complexity for bureaucratic hierarchies).
  • Roles within a bureaucratic hierarchy differ in the level of work complexity.
  • The level of work complexity in the roles must be matched with the level of human capability of the role holders (Elliott Jaques identified maximum 8 Levels of human capability).
  • The level of work complexity in any managerial role within a bureaucratic hierarchy must be one level higher than the level of work complexity of the subordinate roles.
  • Any managerial role in a bureaucratic hierarchy must have full managerial accountabilities and authorities (veto selection to the team, decide task types and specific task assignments, decide personal effectiveness and recognition, decide initiation of removal from the team within due process).
  • Lateral working accountabilities and authorities must be defined for all the roles in the hierarchy (7 types of lateral working accountabilities and authorities: collateral, advisory, service-getting and -giving, coordinative, monitoring, auditing, prescribing).[58][59][60]

The definition of effective bureaucratic hierarchy by Elliott Jaques is of importance not only to sociology but to social psychology, social anthropology, economics, politics, and social philosophy. They also have a practical application in business and administrative studies.

See also


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  2. ^ "definition of bureaucracy". Thefreedictionary.com. Retrieved 2013-05-26.
  3. ^ "Bureaucracy Definition". Investopedia. 2009-09-04. Retrieved 2013-05-26.
  4. ^ Philip K. Howard (2012). "To Fix America's Education Bureaucracy, We Need to Destroy It". The Atlantic.
  5. ^ Devin Dwyer (2009). "Victims of 'Health Insurance Bureaucracy' Speak Out". ABC News.
  6. ^ David Martin (2010). "Gates Criticizes Bloated Military Bureaucracy". CBS News.
  7. ^ "How to bend the rules of corporate bureaucracy". Usatoday30.usatoday.com. 2002-11-08. Retrieved 2013-05-26.
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  9. ^ Weber, Max "Bureaucracy" in Weber's Rationalism and Modern Society, translated and edited by Tony Waters and Dagmar Waters, Palgrave-Macmillan 2015. p. 114
  10. ^ a b J.C.N. Raadschelders (1998). Handbook of Administrative History. Transaction Publishers. p. 142. ISBN 9780765807267.
  11. ^ Ronald N. Johnson; Gary D. Libecap (1994). The Federal Civil Service System and the Problem of Bureaucracy (PDF). University of Chicago Press. pp. 1–11. Retrieved 12 March 2014.
  12. ^ David Luban; Alan Strudler; David Wasserman (1992). "Moral Responsibility in the Age of Bureaucracy". Michigan Law Review. 90 (8): 2348–2392. JSTOR 1289575.
  13. ^ Wren, Daniel; Bedeian, Arthur (2009). "Chapter 10:The Emergence of the Management Process and Organization Theory" (PDF). The Evolution of Management Thought. Wiley. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 March 2013. Retrieved 18 May 2013.
  14. ^ Garrett; et al. (March–April 2006). "Assessing the Impact of Bureaucracy Bashing by Electoral Campaigns". Public Administration Review. 66 (2): 228–40. doi:10.1111/j.1540-6210.2006.00575.x.
  15. ^ a b c d e Richard Swedberg; Ola Agevall (2005). The Max Weber dictionary: key words and central concepts. Stanford University Press. pp. 18–21. ISBN 978-0-8047-5095-0. Retrieved 23 March 2011.
  16. ^ a b George Ritzer, Enchanting a Disenchanted World: Revolutionizing the Means of Consumption, Pine Forge Press, 2004; ISBN 0-7619-8819-X, ISBN 076198819X&id=DznT_TbfKzMC&pg=PA55&lpg=PA55&dq=rationalization+%22iron+cage%22+%22polar+night+of+icy+darkness%22&sig=T4GVWJHDLYKbPVBg7lXN5KJFSb4 Google Print, p. 55
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  19. ^ Lady Morgan, Sydney (1818). Florence Macarthy. p. 35. Retrieved 2014-11-18.
  20. ^ a b c Beetham, David (1996). Bureaucracy. ISBN 9780816629398. Retrieved 2013-05-26.
  21. ^ a b Ludwig von Mises (1944). Bureaucracy. Retrieved 12 October 2012.
  22. ^ a b Robert K. Merton (1957). Social Theory and Social Structure. Glencoe, IL;Free Press. pp. 195–206. Retrieved 12 October 2012.
  23. ^ Compare: Laurie E. Pearce (1995). "The Scribes and Scholars of Ancient Mesopotamia". In Jack M. Sasson. Civilizations of the Ancient Near East. Macmillan Library Reference. pp. 2265–2278. Retrieved 12 March 2014. Palace scribes recorded the activities of kings and the affairs of kingdoms in ancient Mesopotamia. Scribes served a variety of administrative functions, including arrangement and storage of texts [...], collection of taxes and supervision of workers, and supervision of public buildings such as granaries. [...] Scribes associated with the temple were not officiants in the temple cult. They functioned largely in administrative and bureaucratic roles. They received incoming staples for the temple, including commodities such as grain, fish, wool, and silver. They traveled to various cities to fulfill official duties, such as the purchase of grain for the temple complex.
  24. ^ Ronald J. Williams (1972). "Scribal Training in Ancient Egypt". Journal of the American Oriental Society. 92 (2): 214–221. JSTOR 600648.
  25. ^ As taken from the Laterculus Veronensis or Verona List, reproduced in Barnes, New Empire, chs. 12–13 (with corrections in T.D. Barnes, "Emperors, panegyrics, prefects, provinces and palaces (284–317)", Journal of Roman Archaeology 9 (1996): pp. 539–42). See also: Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, 9; Cascio, "The New State of Diocletian and Constantine" (CAH), 179; Rees, Diocletian and the Tetrarchy, pp. 24–27.
  26. ^ Lactantius. "Chapter 7". On the Manner in which the Persecutors Died.
  27. ^ "Byzantine – Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary". Merriam-webster.com. 2012-08-31. Retrieved 2013-05-26.
  28. ^ Harper, Douglas. "Byzantine". Online Etymology Dictionary.: "pertaining to Byzantium (q.v., original name of Constantinople, modern Istanbul), 1770, from Late Latin Byzantinus; originally used of the style of art and architecture developed there 4c.-5c. C.E.; later in reference to the complex, devious, and intriguing character of the royal court of Constantinople (1937)."
  29. ^ Riegel, Jeffrey. "Confucius". In Edward N. Zalta. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2012 ed.).
  30. ^ McKnight, Brian E. (1983-02-15). Village and Bureaucracy in Southern Sung China. University of Chicago Press. pp. 1–. ISBN 978-0-226-56060-1. Retrieved 7 February 2013.
  31. ^ "3 Public finance in China and Britain in the long eighteenth century" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-12-17.
  32. ^ Linda Weiss; John Hobson (1995). States and Economic Development: A Comparative Historical Analysis. Wiley. ISBN 9780745614571. Retrieved 2013-02-07.
  33. ^ a b Bodde, Derke. "China: A Teaching Workbook". Columbia University.
  34. ^ Full text of the Northcote-Trevelyan Report Archived 22 December 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  35. ^ Walker, David (2003-07-09). "Fair game". London, UK: The Guardian. Retrieved 2003-07-09.
  36. ^ a b Henry Jacoby (January 1, 1973). The Bureaucratization of the World. University of California Press. p. 40–43. ISBN 978-0-520-02083-2. Retrieved September 16, 2013.
  37. ^ a b Schwarz (1996), p. 229
  38. ^ Schwarz (1996), p. 232
  39. ^ Raadschelders, Jos C. N. (2000). Handbook of Administrative History - Paper - J.C.N. Raadschelders. ISBN 9780765807267. Retrieved 2013-05-26.
  40. ^ Michael Voslensky (1984). Nomenklatura: The Soviet Ruling Class (1st ed.). Doubleday. ISBN 978-0-385-17657-6.
  41. ^ "Viewpoints: How did Margaret Thatcher change Britain?". BBC News. 13 April 2013.
  42. ^ Ronald Reagan (27 October 1964). A Time For Choosing (Speech). Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.
  43. ^ "Jack Welch's Encore". Businessweek.com. 14 June 1997. Archived from the original on 1 January 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-12.
  44. ^ Stewart R. Clegg; Martin Harris; Harro Höpfl, eds. (2011). Managing Modernity: Beyond Bureaucracy?. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199563654.
  45. ^ Karl Marx (1970). "3A". Marx's Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right (1843). Cambridge University Press. Retrieved 12 October 2012.
  46. ^ John Stuart Mill (1861). "VI – Of the Infirmities and Dangers to which Representative Government is Liable". Considerations on Representative Government. Retrieved 12 October 2012.
  47. ^ “Bureaucracy” from Weber’s Rationalism and Modern Society: New Translations on Politics, Bureaucracy, and Social Stratification. Chapter 6 Edited and Translated by Tony Waters and Dagmar Waters. Palgrave MacMillan 2015, pp. 73-128 ISBN 1137365862, 9781137365866
  48. ^ Marshall Sashkin; Molly G. Sashkin (28 January 2003). Leadership that matters: the critical factors for making a difference in people's lives and organizations' success. Berrett-Koehler Publishers. p. 52. ISBN 978-1-57675-193-0. Retrieved 22 March 2011.
  49. ^ Weber, 2015, pp. 73–127 in Weber's Rationalism and Modern Society, edited and translated by Tony Waters and Dagmar Waters, New York: Palgrave MacMillan
  50. ^ a b c Kenneth Allan; Kenneth D. Allan (2 November 2005). Explorations in Classical Sociological Theory: Seeing the Social World. Pine Forge Press. pp. 172–76. ISBN 978-1-4129-0572-5.
  51. ^ Weber 2015, p. 76, in Weber's Rationalism and Modern Society: New Translations on Politics, Bureaucracy, and Social Stratification, edited and translated by Tony Waters and Dagmar Waters. New York: Palgrave Macmillan
  52. ^ Max Weber (2015) extract, books.google.ca; accessed 30 August 2015.
  53. ^ a b George Ritzer (29 September 2009). Contemporary Sociological Theory and Its Classical Roots: The Basics. McGraw-Hill. pp. 38–42. ISBN 978-0-07-340438-7. Retrieved 22 March 2011.
  54. ^ Liesbet Hooghe (2001). The European Commission and the integration of Europe: images of governance. Cambridge University Press. pp. 40–. ISBN 978-0-521-00143-4. Retrieved 24 March 2011.
  55. ^ Woodrow Wilson, "The Study of Administration", Political Science Quarterly, July 1887
  56. ^ Christopher Hood (30 March 2000). The Art of the State: Culture, Rhetoric, and Public Management. Oxford University Press. p. 76. ISBN 978-0-19-829765-9. Retrieved 29 January 2019
  57. ^ Constructing the infrastructure for the knowledge economy : methods and tools, theory and structure. Linger, Henry. New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers. 2004. p. 104. ISBN 978-0306485541. OCLC 55877281.
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Further reading

  • Albrow, Martin. Bureaucracy. London: Macmillan, 1970.
  • Kingston, Ralph. Bureaucrats and Bourgeois Society: Office Politics and Individual Credit, 1789–1848. Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.
  • On Karl Marx: Hal Draper, Karl Marx's Theory of Revolution, Volume 1: State and Bureaucracy. New York: Monthly Review Press, 1979.
  • Marx comments on the state bureaucracy in his Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right and Engels discusses the origins of the state in Origins of the Family, marxists.org
  • Ernest Mandel, Power and Money: A Marxist Theory of Bureaucracy. London: Verso, 1992.
  • On Weber: Watson, Tony J. (1980). Sociology, Work and Industry. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-32165-5.
  • Neil Garston (ed.), Bureaucracy: Three Paradigms. Boston: Kluwer, 1993.
  • Chowdhury, Faizul Latif (2006), Corrupt Bureaucracy and Privatization of Tax Enforcement. Dhaka: Pathak Samabesh, ISBN 984-8120-62-9.
  • Ludwig von Mises, Bureaucracy, Yale University Press, 1962. Liberty Fund (2007), ISBN 978-0-86597-663-4
  • Lavie, Smadar (2014). Wrapped in the Flag of Israel: Mizrahi Single Mothers and Bureaucratic Torture. Oxford and New York: Berghahn Books; ISBN 978-1-78238-222-5 hardback; ISBN 978-1-78238-223-2 ebook.
  • Schwarz, Bill. (1996). The expansion of England: race, ethnicity and cultural history. Psychology Pres; ISBN 0-415-06025-7.
  • Weber, Max. The Theory of Social and Economic Organization. Translated by A.M. Henderson and Talcott Parsons. London: Collier Macmillan Publishers, 1947.
  • Wilson, James Q. (1989). Bureaucracy. Basic Books. ISBN 978-0-465-00785-1.
  • Weber, Max, "Bureaucracy" in Weber, Max. Weber's Rationalism and Modern Society: New translations on Politics, Bureaucracy, and Social Stratification. Edited and Translated by Tony Waters and Dagmar Waters, 2015. ISBN 1137373539. English translation of "Bureaucracy" by Max Weber.
1998 Cheltenham Borough Council election

The 1998 Cheltenham Council election took place on 7 May 1998 to elect members of Cheltenham Borough Council in Gloucestershire, England. One third of the council was up for election and the Liberal Democrats stayed in overall control of the council.After the election, the composition of the council was

Liberal Democrat 27

Conservative 9

People Against Bureaucracy 4

Vacant 1

1999 Cheltenham Borough Council election

The 1999 Cheltenham Council election took place on 6 May 1999 to elect members of Cheltenham Borough Council in Gloucestershire, England. One third of the council was up for election and the Liberal Democrats lost overall control of the council to no overall control.After the election, the composition of the council was

Conservative 18

Liberal Democrat 17

People Against Bureaucracy 5

Labour 1


Adhocracy is a flexible, adaptable and informal form of organization that is defined by a lack of formal structure. It operates in an opposite fashion to a bureaucracy. The term was coined by Warren Bennis in his 1968 book The Temporary Society, later popularized in 1970 by Alvin Toffler in Future Shock, and has since become often used in the theory of management of organizations (particularly online organizations). The concept has been further developed by academics such as Henry Mintzberg.

Adhocracy is characterized by an adaptive, creative and flexible integrative behavior based on non-permanence and spontaneity. It is believed that these characteristics allow adhocracy to respond faster than traditional bureaucratic organizations while being more open to new ideas.

Bureaucracy (video game)

Bureaucracy is an interactive fiction video game released by Infocom in 1987, scripted by comic science fiction author Douglas Adams. It is Infocom's twenty-fourth game.


A bureaucrat is a member of a bureaucracy and can compose the administration of any organization of any size, although the term usually connotes someone within an institution of government.

The term bureaucrat derives from "bureaucracy", which in turn derives from the French "bureaucratie" first known from the 18th century. Bureaucratic work had already been performed for many centuries. In countries such as India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, bureaucrats are known to be the officers that run the government at ministerial levels as well at district levels.

Byzantine bureaucracy and aristocracy

The Byzantine Empire had a complex system of aristocracy and bureaucracy, which was inherited from the Roman Empire. At the apex of the hierarchy stood the emperor, yet "Byzantium was a republican absolute monarchy and not primarily a monarchy by divine right". Beneath the emperor, a multitude of officials and court functionaries operated the complex administrative machinery that was necessary to run the empire. In addition to those officials, a large number of honorific titles existed, which the emperor awarded to his subjects or to friendly foreign rulers.

Over the more than thousand years of the empire's existence, different titles were adopted and discarded, and many lost or gained prestige. At first the various titles of the empire were the same as those in the late Roman Empire. However, by the time that Heraclius was emperor (610–641), many of the titles had become obsolete. By the time of Alexios I reign (1082–1118), many of the positions were either new or drastically changed. However, from that time on they remained essentially the same until the fall of the Byzantine Empire in 1453.

Central Superior Services

The Central Superior Services (CSS; or Bureaucracy) is a permanent elite bureaucratic authority, and the civil service that is responsible for running the civilian bureaucratic operations and government secretariats and directorates of the Cabinet of Pakistan. The country's civil service is headed by the Establishment Secretary of Pakistan, who reports directly to the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister is the final authority on all matters regarding the civil service.

The civil service defined itself as "key wheels on which the entire engine of the state has to move." Derived from the colonial legacy of the former Indian Civil Service, the civil service came into its modern formation immediately after the establishment of Pakistan as a "Civil Service of Pakistan". During its time of formation, the bureaucracy produced Ghulam Ishaq Khan who would go on to become the President of Pakistan. It had influence on many of the state's defence, internal, foreign and financial policies. In 1971, it was re-organized and reestablished under "Chapter I: Part-XII, Article 240" of the Constitution of Pakistan which gave it foundation and constitutional status. The civil bureaucracy closely collaborated with the military establishments of Pakistani Armed Forces in issues concerning the national security. The bureaucracy consists of 12 directorates that provide vital office and secretariat related duties to the Government of Pakistan. The provincial bureaucracies are headed by the respective Chief Secretaries of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh, Punjab and Balochistan. The highest attainable rank for an officer who serves in the country's bureaucracy is BPS-22 grade.

The Civil Service of Pakistan selects only 7.5% of the applicants by merit, education, qualification and experience while the 92.5% are selected by a quota system. The civil service exams are competitive and provides equal opportunities to males and females, depending on their qualifications. The CSS Examinations are held at the start of every year. The exams are conducted and supervised by the Federal Public Service Commission. CSS exams have a reputation of a very low pass percentage, in 2015, only 3% of the 12,176 participants cleared the multi-staged exam.

Civil Services of India

The Civil Services refer to the civil services, the permanent executive branch of the Republic of India. The civil service system is the backbone of the administrative machinery of the country.In the parliamentary democracy of India, the ultimate responsibility for running the administration rests with the elected representatives of the people which are the ministers. But a handful of ministers cannot be expected to deal personally with the manifold problems of modern administration. Thus the ministers lay down the policy and it is for the civil servants to carry out this policy.

The executive decisions are implemented by the Indian civil servants. The members of civil service serve at the pleasure of the President of India and Article 311 of the constitution protects them from politically motivated or vindictive action. Civil servants are employees of the Government of India or of the states; however, not all employees of the Government are civil servants. Civil servants in a personal capacity are paid from the Civil List. Senior civil servants may be called to account by Parliament.

As of year 2010, there were total 6.4 million government employees in India, and less than 50,000 civil servants to administer them. The civil service system in India is rank-based and does not follow the tenets of the position-based civil services.In 2015, the Government of India approved the formation of Indian Skill Development Service. Further, in 2016, the Government of India approved the formation of Indian Enterprise Development Service.

Discordian calendar

The Discordian or Erisian calendar is an alternative calendar used by some adherents of Discordianism. It is specified on page 00034 of the Principia Discordia.The Discordian year 1 YOLD is 1166 BC. (Elsewhere in the Principia Discordia, it is mentioned that the Curse of Greyface occurred in 1166 BC, so this is presumably related to the start-date of the calendar.) As a reference, AD 2019 is 3185 YOLD (Year of Our Lady of Discord). The abbreviation "YOLD" is not used in the Principia, though the phrase "Year of Our Lady of Discord" is mentioned once.

Finance Secretary

The Finance Secretary is the Permanent Secretary-level civil servant, who plays a leadership role in the bureaucracy of the Finance Ministry, Government of India.Ajay Narayan Jha is the present finance secretary of India.

History of Asia

The history of Asia can be seen as the collective history of several distinct peripheral coastal regions such as, East Asia, South Asia, and the Middle East linked by the interior mass of the Eurasian steppe.

The coastal periphery was the home to some of the world's earliest known civilizations, with each of the three regions developing early civilizations around fertile river valleys. These valleys were fertile because the soil there was rich and could bear many root crops. The civilizations in Mesopotamia, India, and China shared many similarities and likely exchanged technologies and ideas such as mathematics and the wheel. Other notions such as that of writing likely developed individually in each area. Cities, states and then empires developed in these lowlands.

The steppe region had long been inhabited by mounted nomads, and from the central steppes they could reach all areas of the Asian continent. The northern part of the continent, covering much of Siberia was also inaccessible to the steppe nomads due to the dense forests and the tundra. These areas in Siberia were very sparsely populated.

The centre and periphery were kept separate by mountains and deserts. The Caucasus, Himalaya, Karakum Desert, and Gobi Desert formed barriers that the steppe horsemen could only cross with difficulty. While technologically and culturally the city dwellers were more advanced, they could do little militarily to defend against the mounted hordes of the steppe. However, the lowlands did not have enough open grasslands to support a large horsebound force. Thus the nomads who conquered states in the Middle East were soon forced to adapt to the local societies.

Asia's history would feature major developments seen in other parts of the world, as well as events that would affect those other regions. These include the trade of the Silk Road, which spread cultures, languages, religion, and disease throughout Afro-Eurasian trade. Another major advancement was the innovation of gunpowder in medieval China, which led to advanced warfare through the use of guns.


Ikiru (生きる, "To Live") is a 1952 Japanese drama film directed and co-written by Akira Kurosawa and starring Takashi Shimura. The film examines the struggles of a terminally ill Tokyo bureaucrat and his final quest for meaning. The screenplay was partly inspired by Leo Tolstoy's 1886 novella The Death of Ivan Ilyich.

The major themes of the film include learning how to live, the inefficiency of bureaucracy, and decaying family life in Japan, which have been the subject of analysis by academics and critics. The film has received widespread critical acclaim, and in Japan won awards for Best Film at the Kinema Junpo and Mainichi Film Awards. It was remade as a television film in 2007.

Jerry Pournelle

Jerry Eugene Pournelle (; August 7, 1933 – September 8, 2017) was an American polymath: scientist in the area of operations research and human factors research, science fiction writer, essayist, journalist, and one of the first bloggers. In the 1960s and early 1970s he worked in the aerospace industry, but eventually focused on his writing career. In an obituary in gizmodo, he is described as "a tireless ambassador for the future."Pournelle is particularly known for writing hard science fiction, and received multiple awards for his writing. In addition to his solo writing, he wrote several novels with collaborators, most notably Larry Niven. Pournelle served a term as President of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.Pournelle's journalism focused primarily on the computer industry, astronomy, and space exploration. From the 1970s until the early 1990s, he contributed to the computer magazine Byte, writing from the viewpoint of an intelligent user, with the oft-cited credo, “We do this stuff so you won’t have to.” He created one of the first blogs, entitled "Chaos Manor", which included commentary about politics, computer technology, space technology, and science fiction.

Pournelle was also known for his paleoconservative political views, which were sometimes expressed in his fiction. He was one of the founders of the Citizens' Advisory Council on National Space Policy, which developed some of the Reagan Administration's space initiatives, including the earliest versions of what would become the Strategic Defense Initiative.

Organizational theory

Organizational theory consists of approaches to organizational analysis. Organizations are defined as social units of people that are structured and managed to meet a need, or to pursue collective goals. Theories of organizations include rational system perspective, division of labour, bureaucratic theory, and contingency theory.

In a rational organization system, there are two significant parts: Specificity of Goals and Formalization. The division of labor is the specialization of individual labor roles, associated with increasing output and trade. Modernization theorist Frank Dobbin states "modern institutions are transparently purposive and that we are in the midst an evolutionary progression towards more efficient forms". Max Weber's conception of bureaucracy is characterized by the presence of impersonal positions that are earned and not inherited, rule-governed decision-making, professionalism, chain of command, defined responsibility, and bounded authority. The contingency theory holds that an organization must try to maximize performance by minimizing the effects of varying environmental and internal constraints.

Dwight Waldo noted in a review of field work in 1978: "Organization theory is characterized by vogues, heterogeneity, claims and counterclaims", and even greater differentiation in theory and practice have developed since then. Organization theory certainly cannot be described as an orderly progression of ideas, or a unified body of knowledge in which each development builds carefully on and extends the one before it. Rather, developments in theory and prescriptions for practice show disagreement about the purposes and uses of a theory of organization, the issues to which it should address itself (such as supervisory style and organizational culture), and the concepts and variables that should enter into such a theory.


A politician is a person active in party politics, or a person holding or seeking office in government. In democratic countries, politicians seek elective positions within a government through elections or, at times, temporary appointment to replace politicians who have died, resigned or have been otherwise removed from office. In non-democratic countries, they employ other means of reaching power through appointment, bribery, revolutions and war. Some politicians are experienced in the art or science of government. Politicians propose, support and create laws or policies that govern the land and, by extension, its people. Broadly speaking, a "politician" can be anyone who seeks to achieve political power in any bureaucratic institution.

State-owned enterprise

A state-owned enterprise (SOE) is a business enterprise where the government or state has significant control through full, majority, or significant minority ownership. Defining characteristics of SOEs are their distinct legal form and operation in commercial affairs and activities. While they may also have public policy objectives (e.g., a state railway company may aim to make transportation more accessible), SOEs should be differentiated from government agencies or state entities established to pursue purely nonfinancial objectives.

Street-level bureaucracy

Street-level bureaucracy is the subset of a public agency or government institution where the civil servants work who have direct contact with members of the general public. Street-level civil servants carry out and/or enforce the actions required by a government's laws and public policies, in areas ranging from safety and security to education and social services. A few examples include police officers, border guards, social workers and public school teachers. These civil servants have direct contact with members of the general public, in contrast with civil servants who do policy analysis or economic analysis, who do not meet the public. Street-level bureaucrats act as liaisons between government policy-makers and citizens and these civil servants implement policy decisions made by senior officials in the public service and/or by elected officials.

Street-level bureaucrats interact and communicate with the general public, either in person (as with a police officer doing a random checkpoint to check for drunk driving or a civil servant in a department of transportation who helps people to register a newly purchased car and provide them with licence plates); over the phone (as with a government call center, where civil servants answer phone calls from people who are applying for or receiving unemployment insurance); or, in jurisdictions which have implemented electronic government technologies, via the Internet (e.g., a person finding out about the government's taxation laws by going onto the taxation department's official website and asking questions to a civil servant via email).

Street-level bureaucrats often have some degree of discretion on how they enforce the rules, laws and policies which they are assigned to uphold. For example, a police officer who catches a speeding motorist typically can decide whether to give the driver a warning or apply a penalty such as a fine or criminal charge; a border guard who finds undeclared rum in a border-crossing motorist's car trunk can either give the person a warning, confiscate and destroy the contraband item, or levy a fine or other penalty; a government social worker who meets with an unemployed person can decide whether or not to provide social assistance or unemployment insurance benefits; and a high school principal who finds that a student is skipping school can decide whether or not to suspend the person, taking into account the student's unique circumstances and situation. Even though front-line bureaucrats have this degree of discretion, they typically must operate within the rule of law, the system of government regulations, laws and administrative procedural rules. These regulations, laws and rules help to ensure that the street-level bureaucracy operates fairly and ethically, and that each citizen is treated fairly.


Technocracy is a proposed system of governance in which decision-makers are selected on the basis of their expertise in a given area of responsibility, particularly with regard to scientific or technical knowledge. This system explicitly contrasts with the notion that elected representatives should be the primary decision-makers in government, though it does not necessarily imply eliminating elected representatives. Leadership skills for decision-makers are selected on the basis of specialized knowledge and performance, rather than political affiliations or parliamentary skills.The term technocracy was originally used to advocate the application of the scientific method to solving social problems. Concern could be given to sustainability within the resource base, instead of monetary profitability, so as to ensure continued operation of all social-industrial functions. In its most extreme sense technocracy is an entire government running as a technical or engineering problem and is mostly hypothetical. In more practical use, technocracy is any portion of a bureaucracy that is run by technologists. A government in which elected officials appoint experts and professionals to administer individual government functions and recommend legislation can be considered technocratic. Some uses of the word refer to a form of meritocracy, where the ablest are in charge, ostensibly without the influence of special interest groups.

The Castle (novel)

The Castle (German: Das Schloss, also spelled Das Schloß [das ˈʃlɔs]) is a 1926 novel by Franz Kafka. In it a protagonist known only as K. arrives in a village and struggles to gain access to the mysterious authorities who govern it from a castle. Kafka died before finishing the work, but suggested it would end with K. dying in the village, the castle notifying him on his death bed that his "legal claim to live in the village was not valid, yet, taking certain auxiliary circumstances into account, he was permitted to live and work there." Dark and at times surreal, The Castle is often understood to be about alienation, unresponsive bureaucracy, the frustration of trying to conduct business with non-transparent, seemingly arbitrary controlling systems, and the futile pursuit of an unobtainable goal.

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