(noun) An organization with formal procedures and standards; typically having a clear division of labor and hierarchy of authority.
Example: The department of motor vehicles or city hall.
Audio Pronunciation: (bu·reauc·ra·cy)
Download Audio Pronunciation: bureaucracy.mp3
- Plural: bureaucracies
- Term coined by Jacques Claude Marie Vincent de Gournay (1712–1759) to describe over-regulation in government that stunts commerce.
- Commonly, bureaucracy connotes hierarchical structures in a negative light due to the absence of individual freedom of initiative and the overuse of delegation.
- An aversion to bureaucracies is called bureausis.
- People who work in a bureaucracy lack autonomy.
- Bureaucracies exist in the private and public sector.
- A (noun) bureaucrat works in a (adjective) bureaucratic organization.
- “Bureaucracies generally reward compliance, not defiance. In bureaucratic settings, one does not typically advance by being the defiant, rugged, and fiercely independent individualist of American folklore, but by going along to get along, being a team player, following the rules and procedures, and slowly climbing the bureaucratic ladder one step at a time” (McNamee and Miller 2013:171-172).
- Word origin of “bureaucracy” – Online Etymology Dictionary: etymonline.com
- Fischer, Frank, and Carmen Sirianni. 1994. Critical Studies in Organization and Bureaucracy. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
- Goodsell, Charles T. 2004. The Case for Bureaucracy: A Public Administration Polemic. Washington, D.C.: CQ Press.
- Greenberg, Alan L. 2010. Confessions of a Government Man: How to Succeed in Any Bureaucracy. Indianapolis, IN: Dog Ear Pub.
- Lipsky, Michael. 2010. Street-level Bureaucracy: Dilemmas of the Individual in Public Services. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.
- Peters, B. Guy. 2010. The politics of bureaucracy: an introduction to comparative public administration. London: Routledge.
- Weber, Max. The Theory of Social and Economic Organization.
- Von Mises, Ludwig. 1944. Bureaucracy. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
- clear division of labor
- explicit rules
- hierarchy of authority
- Weber, Max
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How to Cite the Definition of Bureaucracy
ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “bureaucracy.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved March 25, 2019 (http://sociologydictionary.org/bureaucracy/).
APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)
bureaucracy. (2013). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from http://sociologydictionary.org/bureaucracy/
Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “bureaucracy.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed March 25, 2019. http://sociologydictionary.org/bureaucracy/.
MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)
“bureaucracy.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2013. Web. 25 Mar. 2019. <http://sociologydictionary.org/bureaucracy/>.