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Bureaucracy is the combined organizational structure, procedures, protocols, and set of

regulations in place to manage activity, usually in large organizations. As opposed to
adhocracy, it is often represented by standardized procedure (rule-following) that guides
the execution of most or all processes within the body; formal division of powers;
hierarchy; and relationships, intended to anticipate needs and improve efficiency.

A bureaucracy traditionally does not create policy but, rather, enacts it. Law, policy, and
regulation normally originates from a leadership, which creates the bureaucracy to
implement them. A bureaucracy is directly responsible to the leadership that creates it,
such as a government executive or board of directors. Conversely, the leadership is
usually responsible to an electorate, shareholders, membership or whoever is intended to
benefit. As a matter of practicality, the bureaucracy is where the individual will interface
with an organization such as a government etc., rather than directly with its leadership.
Generally, larger organizations result in a greater distancing of the individual from the
leadership, which can be consequential or intentional by design.


Max Weber was one of the most influential users of bureaucracy. He is well-known for
his study of bureaucratization of society; many aspects of modern public administration
go back to him; a classic, hierarchically organized civil service of the continental
type.Weber described the ideal type bureaucracy in positive terms, considering it to be a
more rational and efficient form of organization than the alternatives that preceded it,
which he characterized as charismatic domination and traditional domination. According
to his terminology, bureaucracy is part of legal domination. However, he also emphasized
that bureaucracy becomes inefficient when a decision must be adopted to an individual

According to Weber, the attributes of modern bureaucracy include its impersonality,

concentration of the means of administration, a leveling effect on social and economic
differences and implementation of a system of authority that is practically

Weber's analysis of bureaucracy concerns:

• the historical and administrative reasons for bureaucratization

• the impact of the rule of law upon the bureaucratic organisations
• the personal orientation and occupational position of the status group of
bureaucratic officials
• the attributes and consequences of bureaucracy in the modern world

A bureaucratic organization is governed by the following seven principles:

1. official business is conducted continuously

2. official business is conducted with strict accordance to the following rules:
1. the duty of each official to do certain types of work is delimited in terms
of impersonal criteria
2. the official is given the authority necessary to carry out his assigned
3. the means of coercion at his disposal are strictly limited and conditions of
their use strictly defined
3. every official's responsibilities and authority are part of a vertical hierarchy of
authority, with respective rights of supervision and appeal
4. officials do not own the resources necessary for the performance of their assigned
functions but are accountable for their use of these resources
5. official and private business and income are strictly separated
6. offices cannot be appropriated by their incumbents (inherited, sold, etc.)
7. official business is conducted on the basis of written documents

Bureaucratic officials:

• personally free.
• serve a higher authority.
• are appointed on the basis of conduct and their technical qualifications.
• are responsible for the impartial execution of assigned tasks.
• Their work is a full-time occupation.
• Their work is rewarded by a salary and prospects of career advancement.


Bureaucracy is a formal organization with defined objectives, a hierarchy of
specialized roles and systematic processes of direction and administration. It is most
prominent in large scale organizations and modern business corporations.
Marx Weber gave particular attention to bureaucracy and saw this form of social
organization becoming dominant in modern society due to the commitment to the value
of rationalization so as to achieve set goals and objectives.