Sociology Index


Bureaucracy is a formal organization with clearly defined objectives, a hierarchy of specialized roles and systematic processes of direction and administration. The terms "bureaucracy," "bureaucratic," and "bureaucrat" are common. A cyberocracy could be a bureaucracy changed by computers. Like Marx's alienation surplus value, Weber views bureaucracy as alienating in that it is a set of structures which dominate people.

Bureaucracy can be found in earlier times in the Roman army, though it is prominently visible in the large-scale administration of agencies of the modern state. The German state created by Bismarck, was a model bureaucracy in both its armed forces and civil administration. According to Weber the creation of the modern state of Germany had only been possible because of the development of a disciplined state bureaucracy and a bureaucratised standing army.

Max Weber gave attention to bureaucracy and saw this form of social organization becoming dominant in modern society due to the commitment to the value of rationalization. Weber’s analysis of bureaucracy has made it seem as if bureaucracies are inherently limiting to human freedom. Weber praises bureaucracies for their efficiency and predictability, but he feared that people would become too controlled by them.

The growth of formal bureaucracy was seen in the 19th and 20th centuries. For organizations the bureaucracy represents an important modern technology of control.

Bureaucracy Abstracts

Can Bureaucracy Benefit Organizational Women? An Exploratory Study
Leisha DeHart-Davis, University of Kansas, Administration & Society, Vol. 41, No. 3, 340-363 (2009)
A significant body of evidence suggests that bureaucratized organizations provide greater career rewards to women than do less bureaucratized organizations.

Representative Bureaucracy, Organizational Strategy, and Public Service Performance: An Empirical Analysis of English Local Government, Rhys Andrews, George A. Boyne, Kenneth J. Meier, Laurence J. O'Toole, Jr., Richard M. Walker. The management literature implies that the impact of representative bureaucracy is contingent on organizational strategy.

The theory of representative bureaucracy suggests that organizations perform better if their workforces reflect the characteristics of their constituent populations. Our empirical evidence on English local government is inconsistent with the basic theory of representative bureaucracy.

Congress and the Bureaucracy as Unlikely Bedfellows: How and Why Federal Agencies Use Statutory Mandates to Constrain the President - Godwin, Erik
Abstract: “Weak” bureaucracy theories have moved to the forefront of the bureaucratic control literature.

Who Controls the Bureaucracy?: Presidential Power, Congressional Dominance, Legal Constraints, and Bureaucratic Autonomy in a Model of Multi-Institutional Policy-Making
Thomas H. Hammond and Jack H. Knott, Michigan State University
In the past 15 years a scholarly debate has developed in the United States over the question "Who controls the bureaucracy?"

The Health Care Bureaucracy: Small Changes, Big Consequences
James A. Morone, Brown University
Americans are developing a distinctly bureaucratic health care regime. This article explores the ramifications for both the politics of health care and the practice of medicine.

Bureaucracy, Imagination and U.S. Domestic Security Policy
Philip D Bougen, Anderson Schools of Management, University of New Mexico
Pat O'Malley, Sydney Law School, University of Sydney
Abstract: Examines rationales for the concept of bureaucratized imagination.

Rationalism, bureaucracy, and ethics - S Hasson, M A Goldberg
Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design 14(1) 15 – 27
Abstract. Examination of rationality and value-neutrality in science, bureaucracy and planning.

The Rise of Post-Bureaucracy - Theorists' Fancy or Organizational Praxis?
Phil Johnson, University of Sheffield, Geoffrey Wood, University of Sheffield, Chris Brewster, Reading University, Michael Brookes, Middlesex University Business School,
A central proposition of theories of post-bureaucracy, a tendency for organizations to delegate more power to employees over time.

The Brazilian civil servant: a typology of bureaucracy - Clarice Gomes de Oliveira
This paper builds on Downs’ typology of bureaucratic officials to analyze Brazilian public servants.

Technology, Bureaucracy, and Healing in America
By Roger J. Bulger. 97 pages. University of Iowa Press, Iowa City, 1988. $14.50.
15 August 1989, Volume 111 Issue 4, Page 346
Abstract: A central concern is the clash between bureaucracy and the Hippocratic theme.

Making bureaucracy work
J Manag Med - 01-JAN-1999; 13(2-3): 190-200
Abstract: What gives bureaucracy a bad name? Is it bureaucracy in itself, or the ghosts in the system?

Helping Hand or Grabbing Hand? State Bureaucracy and Privatization Effectiveness
J. David Brown, John S. Earle, Scott Gehlbach.
Abstract: We examine the relationship between state bureaucracy and the impact of privatization on firm productivity.

Representative Bureaucracy: A Puzzled State?
Kennedy, Brandy
Abstract: For the field of representative bureaucracy to progress, scholars need to develop a consistent definition of this term and ways to operationalize and measure representative bureaucracy.

Industries fear barrier to reform, bureaucracy, will stay
Redl, Christopher, Publisher: Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Publication Name: The Asian Wall Street Journal Weekly. Abstract: Reduced funding for government agencies and limiting the hiring of policymakers are seen to eliminate bureaucracy.

Decentralization and Political Control of the Bureaucracy
Andrew B. Whitford, University of Kansas
The possibility of the political control of the bureaucracy depends on bureaucratic structure.

Organizational Subcultures in a Soft Bureaucracy: Resistance Behind the Myth and Facade of an Official Culture - John M. Jermier, John W. Slocum, Louis W. Fry, Jeannie Gaines
The proposition that soft bureaucracies project a rigid exterior appearance while masking a loosely-coupled set of interior practices.

Politics, bureaucracy and social networks: the case of nominees for high level positions within the Brazilian Central Bank (Banco Central do Brasil). - OLIVIERI, Cecília.
The exchange of positions for parliamentary support can guarantee government stability, but it may reduce the president's control over bureaucracy.

A Mixed Relationship: Bureaucracy and School Performance
Kevin B. Smith1; Christopher W. Larimer2
Public Administration Review, Volume 64, Number 6, November 2004 , pp. 728-736(9)
Abstract: We find bureaucracy's relationship with school performance depends on how performance is measured.

Street-level bureaucracy and family group decision making in the USA
by: William Vesneski, Child & Family Social Work, Vol. 14, No. 1. (2009), pp. 1-5.
Abstract: The relationship between street-level bureaucracy and FGDM. It describes the role of street-level bureaucracy in FGDM's diffusion and it explains the dilution of the FGDM model through use of street-level bureaucracy theory.

The Revealed Preferences of a Government Bureaucracy: Theory - Daniel McFadden
The RAND Journal of Economics Volume 6, No. 2 Issue: Autumn 1975 Pages: pp. 401-416

Standards for Surface Analysis: A Clash between Bureaucracy and Science? - M. P. Seah

Harry Potter and the Half-Crazed Bureaucracy - Benjamin Barton
University of Tennessee College of Law, Michigan Law Review, Vol. 104, May 2006
Abstract: Rowling eliminates many of the progressive defenses of bureaucracy. The most omission is the elimination of the democratic defense.

Latinos and Representative Bureaucracy Testing the Thompson and Henderson Hypotheses
Kenneth J. Meier, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Bureaucracy Neutrality in Politics: Case Study of Civil Servant (PNS) Neutrality in The Governor Election in South Sulawesi 2007 and Banten 2006, Political Science Study Program - Sudiman
Abstract: The relationship between bureaucracy and politics in Indonesia always fluctuates.