What is the Definition of Bureaucracy?


The bureaucracy is an organizational system that is responsible for administering and managing certain issues, following a set of specific rules and procedures.

Defined on DIGOPAUL, bureaucracy is a concept related to the disproportionate prevalence of the administrative apparatus in the whole of public life or private companies.

Bureaucracy can also refer simply to all public servants in a country. For example: “The Spanish bureaucracy is on strike today.”

Etymologically, the word bureaucracy comes from the French bureaucratie, and is composed of the French voice bureau , which means ‘office’, ‘desk’, and the suffix – cracia, which comes from the Greek – κρατία (kratía), which we can translate as’ government’,’ domain ‘or’ power’.

In this sense, bureaucracy would come to mean ‘desk power’, hence from its origin it has a pejorative value.

Bureaucracy and administration

Bureaucracy is a term widely used in the area of ​​administration, more specifically in public administration, to refer to the set of techniques and methodologies that serve to apprehend and rationalize the external reality, and to be able to control it from the central power in a standardized and uniform way .

Public bureaucracy

Public bureaucracy is inherent in state agencies, such as hospitals, courts, schools or the army. In this sense, public bureaucracy is also known as public administration.

Private bureaucracy

Private bureaucracy or corporate bureaucracy refers to the entire administrative system of large companies or consortia.

Criticisms of the bureaucracy

The bureaucracy is a system of organization recognized, in many cases, for having an ineffective administrative management because the officials do not fulfill their duties or ignore their labor competencies, which leads to the chaos and administrative disorder of a company or organization.

In a pejorative sense, as bureaucracy can be called the excessive influence that officials can exert in public affairs: “The bureaucracy does not allow this country to march.”

In the same way, and also with a pejorative value, the system is called bureaucracy characterized by inefficient management, full of obstacles (paperwork, rigidity, unnecessary formalities, etc.), which makes it difficult to carry out a procedure, the issuance of a document or the flow of a process, among other things.

For example: “I tried to open a company, but that meant too much bureaucracy.”

Bureaucracy according to Max Weber

The German economist Max Weber, a student of bureaucracy and the way companies are organized, defined bureaucracy as an organization based on standardized norms and procedures, where each individual has his specialty, his responsibility and his division of tasks.

As such, Weber pointed out that the bureaucracy was a system of administration, impersonal and hierarchical, subject to a formal set of rules, with a clear division of labor and, consisting of a group of officials of a certain level of technical competence and predictability in the Execution of their tasks.