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The set of government employees who write, implement, and enforce regulations set under their purview by appropriate legislation. Examples of bureaucratic organizations in the United States include the IRS, the Department of Justice, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Max Weber argued that bureaucrats have no interests of their own, and that their incentives are identical to those of the state. Karl Marx, on the other hand, believed that bureaucrats protect themselves and their own positions ahead of the state. The term can have a negative connotation depending on its use.
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a structured ORGANIZATION formed to achieve specified goals. The term is commonly used in a pejorative sense to refer to those organizations which appear to have an excessive number of levels in the HIERARCHY, where job roles are narrow and sharply defined and where rules are rigidly adhered to, whatever the circumstances.

As developed by German sociologist Max Weber (1864-1920), however, the term is used to apply to all organizations which include the following features: clearly defined jobs; a hierarchy; a set of rules to govern operations; employees who are appointed (not elected) to posts which constitute their main occupation; and a system of promotion. In Weber's view personal emotions should not enter into the running of the bureaucracy. Weber viewed the bureaucratic organization as a distinctive feature of the modern world. In contrast to traditional societies, the bureaucracy involved a clear separation of home and work life.

In his writing on bureaucracy Weber pioneered the analytical device of the ‘ideal type’ as a means of identifying the essential features of a phenomenon. The features outlined above constitute the essential features that are present to a greater or lesser extent in bureaucracies. The notion of ideal type has no evaluation or prescriptive connotations.

Subsequent research has questioned Weber's contention that the bureaucracy is a highly efficient form of organization. The emphasis on following the rules can deflect employees' attention from the efficient or effective production of goods and services (see GOAL DISPLACEMENT).

American sociologist Alvin Gouldner (1920 – 80) identified three types of bureaucracy in terms of the function and observance of rules:

  1. mock bureaucracy, where rules are imposed from outside the organization, e.g. by legislation, and where all or most employees, including managers, evade or ignore them;
  2. representative bureaucracy, where rules are supported by all organization members, and hence are willingly obeyed;
  3. punishment-centred bureaucracy where rules are enforced by one group upon another in the organization, using punishments to achieve compliance. This approach can lead to CONFLICT.
Collins Dictionary of Business, 3rd ed. © 2002, 2005 C Pass, B Lowes, A Pendleton, L Chadwick, D O’Reilly and M Afferson
References in periodicals archive ?
Global Competitiveness Report (GCR) includes data collected over the years from all European countries and the perception of bureaucracy among respondents is one of the indicators of the evolution of the bureaucratization process.
Our foreign-affairs machine is a glaring example of bureaucratization. An American embassy may look, from outside its walls, like a single entity but our largest posts contain officers not just from the Foreign Service but from twenty or thirty Federal agencies.
The nation-state, as the by-product of these processes of the bureaucratization of coercion and centrifugal ideologization, is thereby framed as something of an historical anomaly.
(3) Walter Pintner and Don Karl Rowney, eds., Russian Officialdom: The Bureaucratization of Russian Society from the Seventeenth to the Twentieth Century (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1980).
Given the persistent, decades long and pervasive lack of political stomach, selfless dedication to country, and brain power required to champion a reversal of the movement toward the bureaucratization of everything, we are worse off now than we were four years ago, and we will be worse off still four years hence.
Likewise, my review of the index did not find arty listing for capitalism, accumulation, rationalization, bureaucratization, or alienation--concepts core to the sociological analysis of industrialization.
Ibn Hajar is said to have taken a newly formal and inclusive approach in presenting the hierarchy of saints (atiliya)) in his al-Fatawa Niadithiyya, perhaps a reflection of both the contemporary coalescence of Sufi communities into orders and the Ottoman bureaucratization and hierarchization of the eilmine.
The bureaucratization and modernization of healthcare under the Khmer Rouge resulted in the overall deterioration of healthcare (pp.
Jacobs described how industrialization and bureaucratization have relegated physicians to a subsidiary role.
The Roman Curia was merely following the trend toward a bureaucratization of censorship underway in Prussia and Austria; Benedict XIV's constitution was hardly a liberalization of censorship but rather an improvement of its functionality.
It may be a good analogy to explain today's simultaneous politicization and bureaucratization of the law, but I am less sanguine that progress towards justice is the end result.