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What are the characteristics of bureaucracy?

As much as we don’t realize it, bureaucracy is very present in our daily lives in different situations, but do you know the characteristics of bureaucracy? Find out what are the characteristics of bureaucracy, the origin of the term, how it works and other information such as its theory.

What this article covers:

What is bureaucracy?

Bureaucracy is an organizational structure that features rules and procedures with definitions and regulations. Bureaucracy serves to divide responsibilities, hierarchy, specialization of trades and general relationships.

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Bureaucracy is present in public, private, social, profit and/or non-profit organizations. But also, the word bureaucracy came to be used as a negative term for administrative methods considered unnecessary, expensive and dispensable.

What is the origin of the term bureaucracy?

The term bureaucracy originates from the Latin word bura, a reddish colored cloth made of wool, the word evolved into the French word burel, this type of fabric was used in French public offices to cover desks, which gave rise to the word bureau , which came to be used to talk about offices in general.

The first person on record to use the word bureaucracy was the French government official, Jacques Claude Marie Vincentto deal with the large number of rules present in public administration.

What are the characteristics of bureaucracy?

One of the main characteristics of bureaucracy is the hierarchy, which is marked by impersonality, other characteristics are rigidity in the division of labor, rules, regulations, and procedures that are inflexible.

In addition to guided processes through written documents and recorded activities. In general, the characteristics of bureaucracy are:

  • Legal character of rules and regulations;
  • Formal character of communications;
  • Rational character and division of labor;
  • Impersonality of relationships;
  • Hierarchy of authority;
  • Routines and procedures;
  • Technical domain;
  • Specialization of employees;
  • Operating forecast.

These are the main features of bureaucracy.

What was Max Weber’s view of bureaucracy?

Max Weber was a German sociologist in which he studied bureaucracy, Weber defended the bureaucratic system by stating that it was a very effective administration model, with fast work, rationality and results.

What was Max Weber's view of bureaucracy

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For Weber, this model reduced internal problems at work with due control of the system. In the points discussed by Weber is the defense of employees within the bureaucratic system, where they would have their salaries and fixed working hours, service contract and highly technical performance. Max Weber’s vision also brings the following advantages of bureaucracy:

  • Quick decisions;
  • Routines and procedures done uniformly;
  • Ongoing organization through the replacement of employees on leave;
  • Subordination, trust and constancy in the quality of work.

These are the main points of Max Weber’s study view of bureaucracy.

What is the theory of bureaucracy?

The theory of bureaucracy consists of the study of organizations, how their structure is made and also how their development occurs to reach efficiency, that is, the theory of bureaucracy serves to make the organization effective, bringing speed, rationality, standard and achievement of goals.

These are the characteristics of bureaucracy and other information about this work system. As much as it is used around the world, the bureaucratic system is considered by many to be a backward and inefficient system that delays and makes simple procedures difficult due to its lack of questioning and inflexibility present in its system of already established rules and a very rigid hierarchical system.

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