Bureaucracy

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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. In practice, the interpretation and execution of policy, etc. can lead to informal influence - but not necessarily. 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.

Contents

Definition

Bureaucracy is a concept in sociology and political science referring to the way that the administrative execution and enforcement of legal rules are socially organized. Four structural concepts are central to any definition of bureaucracy:

Examples of everyday bureaucracies include governments, armed forces, corporations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), intergovernmental organizations (IGOs), hospitals, courts, ministries, social clubs, sports leagues, professional associations and academic institutions.

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