What is bureaucracy?
Bureaucracy is an organizational structure with defined hierarchies and rules. It's known for its complexity, professional management, and strict chain of command. Both public and private institutions can be bureaucracies. The system is often associated with excessive paperwork and officialdom.
Bureaucracy involves many officials strictly following rules. It's not just in government, but also in companies and other organizations. While it offers stability, consistency, and accountability, it's criticized for being slow, rigid, inefficient and complicated. It can hinder creativity and autonomy.
The term "bureaucracy" mixes French and Greek words meaning 'office' and 'rule'. It was first used in the 18th century by French economist Jacques Claude Marie Vincent de Gournay. German sociologist Max Weber further analyzed it as a rational and efficient way of organizing, but warned of its potential dangers.