Bureaucracy

A bureaucracy is the management of impersonal, written rules and a hierarchical structure of offices. The office and the person holding it are different, and formal credentials are used to fill official posts. The term was first thoroughly defined in Weber's ideal type, which served as the framework for most sociological studies on contemporary large-scale organizations.
Bureaucracy Sociology Definition

Definition

A bureaucracy is the management of impersonal, written rules and a hierarchical structure of offices. The office and the person holding it are different, and formal credentials are used to fill official posts. The term was first thoroughly defined in Weber’s ideal type, which served as the framework for most sociological studies on contemporary large-scale organizations.

Politically, bureaucracy is a form of governance where state bureaucrats, as opposed to elected representatives, make the majority of crucial decisions.

Explanation

A specific kind of organization that characterizes modernity is bureaucracy. The notion is most often linked to the ideal bureaucracy that Max Weber established. Weber outlines several bureaucratic organizational characteristics in this ideal type, which can be used to gauge how actual bureaucratic companies are.

Bureaucracies, according to Weber, are the most effective kind of organization. According to its detractors, Bureaucracies are better suited to situations where there is predictability, such as when creating standardized items for a mass market where demand will be stable.

In the postmodern era, when niche markets need specialized, custom items, bureaucracies are considered less effective. Bureaucratic organizations become dysfunctional when they endure under the wrong circumstances.

Max Weber identified 15 critical features of bureaucracy:

• The boundaries of legitimacy are clearly defined by the distinction between bureaucratic and individualistic activity.

• disciplinary knowledge frameworks inform organizational activity;

• There are officially established rules

• Precedent and a general norm operate as guidelines for organizational behavior.

• The organization’s coordination, control, and communication are all centralized.

• Organizational activity is impersonal and consists of carrying out governmental regulations.

• formal certificates are becoming a more common way to evaluate the characteristics needed for organizational roles.

• A propensity toward specialization exists.

• A hierarchy clearly defines who has what authority.

• The Organization’s regulations specify what constitutes authority.

• There is a formal authority structure that goes along with the functional division of duties.

• Different ranks in the hierarchy are stratified and compensated differently.

• The delegation of authority is articulated in terms of the responsibilities, rights, and obligations outlined in contracts.

• An office holds the authority, not the occupant of the office.

• There is a career system with advancement based on merit or seniority.

Weber defined the core of bureaucratic institutions as power founded on sound legal principles. Members of rational bureaucracies abide by the rules as broad principles that may be applied to specific situations and that apply to both those who must follow the rules and those who exercise power. People follow the office holder rather than the individual. 

According to Weber, there are many “rational” foundations around which contemporary bureaucratic organizations are built.  The capture and consolidation of the physical means of production as disposable private property, the representation of share rights in organizations and property ownership, and the “rationalization” of numerous institutional domains like the market, technology, and law are among them.

A new sort of individual, the specialist or technical expert, was created due to rationalization procedures. These professionals control reality using ever-more abstract and exact notions.

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