Bureaucracy - Research Article from Encyclopedia of Sociology

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The origin of the term bureaucracy can be traced to eighteenth-century French literature (Albrow 1970). The early usage referred to an official workplace (bureau) in which individual activities were routinely determined by explicit rules and regulations. As modern systems of management, supervision, and control, bureaucracies are designed to rationally coordinate the duties and responsibilities of officials and employees of organizations. The delineation of official duties and responsibilities, by means of formal rules and programs of activity (March and Simon 1958), is intended to displace and constrain the otherwise private, idiosyncratic, and uniquely personal interests and actions of individuals. Bureaucratic systems of administration are designed to ensure that the activities of individuals rationally contribute to the goals and interests of the organizations within which they work.


The Contribution of Max Weber

The historical trend toward increasing bureaucratization throughout modern Western Europe, highlighted by the changing structure of military organizations, is documented...

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This section contains 4,963 words
(approx. 17 pages at 300 words per page)
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Bureaucracy from Macmillan. Copyright © 2001-2006 by Macmillan Reference USA, an imprint of the Gale Group. All rights reserved.