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.[1] 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.

Role in society

Bureaucrats play various roles in modern society, by virtue of holding administrative, functional, and managerial positions in government.[2][3] They carryout the day-to-day implementation of enacted policies for central government agencies, such as postal services, education and healthcare administration, and various regulatory bodies.[4]

Types of bureaucrats

Bureaucrats can be split into different categories based on the system, nationality, and time they come from.

  1. Classical – someone who starts at a low level of public work and does not have to express opinions of their own in their professional capacities. They follow policy guidelines and gain increasing ranks within the system. Tax collectors, government accountants, police officers, fire fighters, and military personnel are examples of classical bureaucrats.
  2. American bureaucrats – these are different from other types because they operate within a republican form of government, and the political culture traditionally seeks to limit their power.
  3. Chinese bureaucrats, also called “Mandarin bureaucrats” – Mandarins were important from 605 to 1905 CE. The Zhou dynasty is the earliest recording of Chinese bureaucrats. There was a 9 rank system, each rank having more power than the lower rank. This type of bureaucrat went on until the Qing dynasty. After 1905 the Mandarins were replaced by modern civil servants. In 1949 the Communist Party took over China and by their theory all people were bureaucrats who worked for the government.
  4. European – originally referred to as “Mandarins” stemming from the Chinese word for government employee. Bureaucracy didn’t catch on in Europe very much due to the many different governments in the region, and constant change and advancement, and relative freedom of the upper class. 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.[5] Voltaire and François Quesnay wrote favourably of the idea, with Voltaire claiming that the Chinese had "perfected moral science" and Quesnay advocating an economic and political system modeled after that of the Chinese.[5] The implementation of Her Majesty's Civil Service as a systematic, meritocratic civil service bureaucracy, followed the Northcote–Trevelyan Report of 1854 which was influenced by of the ancient Chinese imperial examination.[6] This system was modeled on the imperial examinations system and bureaucracy of China based on the suggestion of Northcote–Trevelyan Report.[7] Thomas Taylor Meadows, Britain's consul in Guangzhou, China argued in his Desultory Notes on the Government and People of China, published in 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.[7] In 1958, though, after the formation of the European Union the job of the Bureaucrat became extremely important to help organize and govern such a large and diverse community. In 1961 the term Eurocrat was coined by Richard Mayne, a journalist at the time. A Eurocrat is a bureaucrat of the European Union.
  5. Modern Bureaucrat - Bureaucrats gained increasingly negative reputations throughout the second half of the 20th century. As populations grow it becomes harder for bureaucratic systems to work because it often involves a lot of paperwork, which increases processing times, which eventually will be nearly impossible to manage. The digital age and the Internet has revolutionized Bureaucrats and the modern Bureaucrat has a different skill set than before. Also, the internet lowers the corruption levels of some Bureaucratic entities such as the Police Force due to social media and pro–am journalism..

Attributes of bureaucrats

German sociologist Max Weber defined a bureaucratic official as the following:[8]

  • He is personally free and appointed to his position on the basis of conduct.
  • He exercises the authority delegated to him in accordance with impersonal rules, and his loyalty is enlisted on behalf of the faithful execution of his official duties.
  • His appointment and job placement are dependent upon his technical qualifications.
  • His administrative work is a full-time occupation.
  • His work is rewarded by a regular salary and prospects of advancement in a lifetime career.
  • He must exercise his judgment and his skills, but his duty is to place these at the service of a higher authority. Ultimately he is responsible only for the impartial execution of assigned tasks and must sacrifice his personal judgment if it runs counter to his official duties.
  • Bureaucratic control is the use of rules, regulations, and formal authority to guide performance. It includes such things as budgets, statistical reports, and performance appraisals to regulate behavior and results.

As an academic, Woodrow Wilson, later a US President, professed in his 1887 article The Study of Administration:[9]

But to fear the creation of a domineering, illiberal officialism as a result of the studies I am here proposing is to miss altogether the principle upon which I wish most to insist. That principle is, that administration in the United States must be at all points sensitive to public opinion. A body of thoroughly trained officials serving during good behavior we must have in any case: that is a plain business necessity. But the apprehension that such a body will be anything un-American clears away the moment it is asked. What is to constitute good behavior? For that question obviously carries its own answer on its face. Steady, hearty allegiance to the policy of the government they serve will constitute good behavior. That policy will have no taint of officialism about it. It will not be the creation of permanent officials, but of statesmen whose responsibility to public opinion will be direct and inevitable. Bureaucracy can exist only where the whole service of the state is removed from the common political life of the people, its chiefs as well as its rank and file. Its motives, its objects, its policy, its standards, must be bureaucratic. It would be difficult to point out any examples of impudent exclusiveness and arbitrariness on the part of officials doing service under a chief of department who really served the people, as all our chiefs of departments must be made to do. It would be easy, on the other hand, to adduce other instances like that of the influence of Stein in Prussia, where the leadership of one statesman imbued with true public spirit transformed arrogant and perfunctory bureaux into public-spirited instruments of just government.

Bureaucrats in popular culture

See also


  1. ^ "bureaucrat - definition of bureaucrat in English | Oxford Dictionaries". Oxford Dictionaries | English. Retrieved 2016-10-23.
  2. ^ Al-Hegelan, Abdelrahman. "Bureaucracy and Development in Saudi Arabia". The Middle East Journal. JSTOR 4326973.
  3. ^ Lankov, Andrei (6 October 2014). "The North Korean bureaucracy is here to stay". NKNews.org. Retrieved 13 August 2015.
  4. ^ "Who Are the Bureaucrats?". US History American Government. Independence Hall Association in Philadelphia. Retrieved 13 August 2015.
  5. ^ a b Schwarz, Bill. (1996). The expansion of England: race, ethnicity and cultural history. Psychology Pres; ISBN 0-415-06025-7.
  6. ^ Walker, David (2003-07-09). "Fair game". The Guardian. London, UK. Retrieved 2003-07-09.
  7. ^ a b Bodde, Derke. "China: A Teaching Workbook". Columbia University.
  8. ^ Max Weber. Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft. pp. 650–78.
  9. ^ Woodrow Wilson (June 1887). "The Study of Administration". Political Science Quarterly. 2 (2). pp. 197–222. Retrieved 2008-03-25.

Further reading

  • Haass, Richard N. (1999). The Bureaucratic Entrepreneur: How to Be Effective in Any Unruly Organization. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution. ISBN 0815733534.
  • Goodsell, Charles T. (2004). The Case for Bureaucracy: a Public Administration Polemic (4th ed.). Washington, DC: CQ Press. ISBN 1568029071.
  • Hummel, Ralph P. (2008). The Bureaucratic Experience: the Post-Modern Challenge (5th ed.). Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe. ISBN 9780765610102.

External links

Bak Gyusu

Bak Gyusu (박규수, 朴珪壽, 1807–1877) was a scholar-bureaucrat, teacher, politician, and a diplomat of the Joseon Dynasty. He was known as a pioneer of the enlightenment group. Bak Gyusu was a grandson of Park Ji-won, the great Silhak scholar of the Joseon. His nickname was Hwanjae (환재, 瓛齋), Hwanjae (환재, 桓齋) en Heonjae (헌재, 獻齋), Hwanjaegeosa (환재거사 瓛齋居士).

Budget-maximizing model

The budget-maximizing model is a stream of public choice theory and rational choice analysis in public administration inaugurated by William Niskanen. Niskanen first presented the idea in 1968, and later developed it into a book published in 1971. According to the budget-maximizing model, rational bureaucrats will always and everywhere seek to increase their budgets in order to increase their own power, thereby contributing strongly to state growth and potentially reducing social efficiency.

The bureau-shaping model has been developed as a response to the budget-maximizing model. Niskanen's inspiration could also have been Parkinson's law sixteen years earlier (1955).

Chief Secretary

Chief Secretary may refer to:

Current posts:

Chief Secretary Sindh, a high-ranking bureaucrat of Sindh province in Pakistan,

Chief Secretary Punjab, a high-ranking bureaucrat of Punjab province in Pakistan,

Chief Secretary Balochistan, a high-ranking bureaucrat of Balochistan province in Pakistan,

Chief Secretary Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, a high-ranking bureaucrat of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in Pakistan,

Chief Secretary for Administration, the head of the Government of Hong Kong,

Chief Secretary (India), a senior civil servant in the states and union territories of India,

Chief Secretary (Sri Lanka), a senior civil servant in the provinces of Sri Lanka,

Chief Secretary of the Isle of Man, the head of the Isle of Man Civil Service,

Chief Secretary to the Government, the most senior officer in the Malaysian Civil Service,

Chief Secretary to the Treasury, a senior minister in the Cabinet of the United Kingdom,

Chief Secretary of Asanteman, the title of the administrative officer of the Ashanti traditional kingdom in Ghana,Defunct posts:

Chief Secretary (British Empire), civil-servant title in colonies of the British Empire

Chief Secretary, Singapore, a high-ranking government civil position in colonial Singapore

Chief Secretary of New South Wales, an office in the colonial and state administration in New South Wales

Chief Secretary of South Australia, an office in the colonial and state administration in South Australia

Chief Secretary, second name for the former Colonial Secretary of Western Australia

Chief Secretary for Ireland, an office in the British administration in Ireland

Eli Alaluf

Eli Alaluf (Hebrew: אלי אלאלוף‬; born 17 February 1945) is an Israeli politician. Formerly a senior bureaucrat for the Israeli government and Israeli NGOs, he currently serves as a member of the Knesset for Kulanu.

Fazalur Rehman (bureaucrat)

Fazal-ur-Rehman (Urdu: فضل الرحمان‬‎) is a retired Pakistani bureaucrat who served in BPS-22 grade (highest attainable rank for a serving officer) as Chief Secretary Sindh and Chairman Trading Corporation of Pakistan. Fazal also served as the Chief Minister of Sindh from June 2018 to August 2018 in a caretaker capacity.Fazal remained a prominent civil servant in Sindh, having served as the provincial administrative boss twice. He retired from the civil service in 2010. Fazal was appointed to be the caretaker chief minister of Sindh ahead of the 2018 general elections and was sworn into office on 2 June 2018.

Jocelerme Privert

Jocelerme Privert (French pronunciation: ​[ʒɔslɛʁm pʁivɛʁ]; born 1 February 1953) is a Haitian accountant, bureaucrat, politician and a former provisional President of Haiti.

John Wilson (bureaucrat)

John Wilson (1807 – January 10, 1876) was an immigrant from Ireland to the United States who held positions in the United States Department of the Treasury and United States Department of the Interior.

La muerte de un burócrata

La muerte de un burócrata (Death of a Bureaucrat) is a 1966 comedy film by Cuban director Tomás Gutiérrez Alea which pokes fun at the Communist bureaucracy and red tape and how it affects the lives of the common people who have to waste time and overcome hurdles just to get on with their ordinary lives.

The story begins with the death of a model worker, who is buried with his labor card as a badge of honor. However, his widow is told she needs that card to claim the benefits she is entitled. The story then takes several surreal turns, as the family of the dead man try to recover the precious card from the grave.

Mandarin (bureaucrat)

A mandarin (Chinese: 官; pinyin: guān) was a bureaucrat scholar in the government of imperial China, Korea and Vietnam.

The term is generally applied to the officials appointed through the imperial examination system; it sometimes includes and sometimes excludes the eunuchs also involved in the governance of the two realms.


An official is someone who holds an office (function or mandate, regardless whether it carries an actual working space with it) in an organization or government and participates in the exercise of authority (either their own or that of their superior and/or employer, public or legally private).

A government official or functionary is an official who is involved in public administration or government, through either election, appointment, selection, or employment. A bureaucrat or civil servant is a member of the bureaucracy. An elected official is a person who is an official by virtue of an election. Officials may also be appointed ex officio (by virtue of another office, often in a specified capacity, such as presiding, advisory, secretary). Some official positions may be inherited. A person who currently holds an office is referred to as an incumbent.

The word official as a noun has been recorded since the Middle English period, first seen in 1314. It comes from the Old French official (12th century), from the Latin officialis ("attendant to a magistrate, public official"), the noun use of the original adjective officialis ("of or belonging to duty, service, or office") from officium ("office"). The meaning "person in charge of some public work or duty" was first recorded in 1555. The adjective is first attested in English in 1533 via the Old French oficial.

The informal term officialese, the jargon of "officialdom", was first recorded in 1884.

Persian Wikipedia

The Persian Wikipedia (Persian: ویکی‌پدیای فارسی‎, Romanized as Wikipediā, Dānešnāme-ye Āzād / "Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia") is the Persian language version of Wikipedia, pronounced "Wikipedia (Wikipediā)". The Persian version of Wikipedia was started in December 2003. It passed 1,000 articles on December 16, 2004 and 200,000 articles on July 10, 2012. Roozbeh Pournader is the project's first system operator, developer and bureaucrat.

Rizwan Ahmed (bureaucrat)

Rizwan Ahmed (Urdu: رضوان احمد‬) is a Pakistani bureaucrat who serves in BPS-22 grade (highest attainable rank for a serving officer) as Chairman of the Pakistan National Shipping Corporation. He rose to fame in 2017 when a record amount of PKR 8 billion was saved and recovered during his tenure as Chairman of the Trading Corporation of Pakistan.A Master in Public Administration from Harvard University, Rizwan belongs to the Pakistan Administrative Service and has served in the federal government as well as in the provincial governments of Punjab and Sindh. In December 2017, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi promoted Rizwan to the rank of Federal Secretary.


Rock–paper–scissors (also known as scissors–rock–paper or other variants) is a hand game usually played between two people, in which each player simultaneously forms one of three shapes with an outstretched hand. These shapes are "rock" (a closed fist), "paper" (a flat hand), and "scissors" (a fist with the index finger and middle finger extended, forming a V). "Scissors" is identical to the two-fingered V sign (also indicating "victory" or "peace") except that it is pointed horizontally instead of being held upright in the air.

A simultaneous, zero-sum game, it has only two possible outcomes: a draw, or a win for one player and a loss for the other.

A player who decides to play rock will beat another player who has chosen scissors ("rock crushes scissors" or sometimes "blunts scissors"), but will lose to one who has played paper ("paper covers rock"); a play of paper will lose to a play of scissors ("scissors cuts paper"). If both players choose the same shape, the game is tied and is usually immediately replayed to break the tie. The type of game originated in China and spread with increased contact with East Asia, while developing different variants in signs over time. Other names for the game in the English-speaking world include roshambo and other orderings of the three items, with "rock" sometimes being called "stone".Rock–paper–scissors is often used as a fair choosing method between two people, similar to coin flipping, drawing straws, or throwing dice in order to settle a dispute or make an unbiased group decision. Unlike truly random selection methods, however, rock–paper–scissors can be played with a degree of skill by recognizing and exploiting non-random behavior in opponents.


Scholar-officials, also known as Literati, Scholar-gentlemen or Scholar-bureaucrats (Chinese: 士大夫; pinyin: shì dàfū) were politicians and government officials appointed by the emperor of China to perform day-to-day political duties from the Han dynasty to the end of the Qing dynasty in 1912, China's last imperial dynasty. After the Sui dynasty these officials mostly came from the scholar-gentry (紳士 shēnshì) who had earned academic degrees (such as xiucai, juren, or jinshi) by passing the imperial examinations. The scholar-officials were schooled in calligraphy and Confucian texts. They dominated the government and local life of China until the mid-20th century. The American philosopher and historian Charles Alexander Moore concluded:

Generally speaking, the record of these scholar-gentlemen has been a worthy one. It was good enough to be praised and imitated in 18th century Europe. Nevertheless, it has given China a tremendous handicap in their transition from government by men to government by law, and personal considerations in Chinese government have been a curse.

Since only a select few could become court or local officials, the majority of the scholar-literati stayed in villages or cities as social leaders. The scholar-gentry carried out social welfare measures, taught in private schools, helped negotiate minor legal disputes, supervised community projects, maintained local law and order, conducted Confucian ceremonies, assisted in the governments collection of taxes, and preached Confucian moral teachings. As a class, these scholars claimed to represent morality and virtue. The district magistrate, who by regulation was not allowed to serve in his home district, depended on the local gentry for advice and for carrying out projects, which gave them the power to benefit themselves and their clients.

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.


A yamen (ya-men; simplified Chinese: 衙门; traditional Chinese: 衙門; pinyin: yámén; Wade–Giles: ya2-men2; Manchu: ᠶᠠᠮᡠᠨyamun) was the administrative office or residence of a local bureaucrat or mandarin in imperial China. A yamen can also be any governmental office or body headed by a mandarin, at any level of government: the offices of one of the Six Ministries is a yamen, but so is a prefectural magistracy. The term has been widely used in China for centuries, but appeared in English during the Qing dynasty.

Within a local yamen, the bureaucrat administered the government business of the town or region. Typical responsibilities of the bureaucrat includes local finance, capital works, judging of civil and criminal cases, and issuing decrees and policies.

Typically, the bureaucrat and his immediate family would live in a residence attached to the yamen. This was especially so during the Qing dynasty, when imperial law forbade a person from taking government office in his native province.

Yamens varied greatly in size depending on the level of government they administered, and the seniority of the bureaucrat's office. However, a yamen at a local level typically had similar features: a front gate, a courtyard and a hall (typically serving as a court of law); offices, prison cells and store rooms; and residences for the bureaucrat, his family and his staff.

At the provincial level and above, specialisation among officials occurred to a greater extent. For example, the three chief officials of a province (simplified Chinese: 三大宪; traditional Chinese: 三大憲; pinyin: Sàn Dà Xiàn; literally: "the Three Great Laws") controlled the legislative and executive, the judicial, and the military affairs of the province or region. Their yamen would accordingly be specialised according to the functions of the office. The great yamens of the central government, located in the capital, are more exclusively office complexes.

Åge Konradsen

Åge Konradsen (born 28 September 1954 in Lenvik) is a Norwegian politician for the Conservative Party.

He was elected to the Norwegian Parliament from Troms in 2001, but was not re-elected in 2005. He had previously served as a deputy representative during the term 1997–2001.

Konradsen was a member of Lenvik municipality council from 1991 to 2001, serving as mayor since 1995. He became leader of the county party chapter in 1993.

Outside politics he worked as a primary school teacher and bureaucrat.

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