A bureaucratic structure is an “ideal typical” form of administrative organization that is characterized by legal authority and rational principles such as hierarchical structures, strict rules of law, and high division of labor as well as detailed record-keeping. Administrative organization with a bureaucratic structure can exist in both the public and private sector. On the one hand, bureaucracy is classically associated with precision, unambiguity, continuity, and efficiency. On the other hand, bureaucracy has nowadays a pejorative meaning as a synonym for technocracy, impersonality, sluggishness, and red tape. After describing the historical emergence of the bureaucratic structure, this entry provides a detailed overview of its characteristics. The entry concludes with a general discussion of bureaucracy’s advantages and disadvantages.

Historical Emergence

Against the backdrop of the Industrial Revolution and ...

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