Bureaucracy (Public Administration)

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  • A concept in sociology and political science that refers to a form of organization that consists of an administrative structure based on hierarchical authority-based relations. A bureaucracy is usually established in large organizations and is typically characterized by a structural model consisting of divisions of responsibilities (authority delegated among individuals, offices, or departments) held together by a central administration, a hierarchy, established procedures (written laws and regulations), and impersonal relationships. Examples of bureaucracy include governments, schools, courts, hospitals, and corporations.

    The term was coined in 18th-century France and first appeared in English in 1818. While the term was traditionally used with a pejorative implication, later in the century, Max Weber became the first writer to view bureaucracy more favorably. Weber, who systematically established the characteristics of ...

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