Meaning of Bureaucracy

The term bureaucracy comes from the French bureaucratie, whose root is bureau (“office”). The concept allows to name the organization that is regulated by rules that seek a rational order in the management and distribution of its affairs.

In addition to the above, it is interesting to establish that there is a Theory of Bureaucracy. It is a theory that began with the clear objective and the need to ensure that the organization of different companies, especially those with many employees and a large volume of activity, were “ordered” in a rational way.

From there ideas and proposals arose such as that of the German economist Max Weber who, between the late 19th and early 20th centuries, became one of the greatest exponents of this theory. In his case, he considered that bureaucracy was a rational way of organizing an entity to make it work with precision, clarity, speed and efficiency.

In this sense, for him, when establishing said bureaucracy, it was fundamental that it be based on issues such as the division of labor, the hierarchy of authority, rules and regulations, professional commitment, rationality, and impersonality in regarding the application of procedures and rules or written records.

According to DigoPaul, the bureaucracy is also the set of public servants, although the term has a negative connotation: bureaucracy is understood to be inefficient administration due to paperwork and formalities, and the excessive influence of officials in public affairs. For example: “Because of the bureaucracy I have to look for the pay stubs for the last thirty years; otherwise, I cannot access the benefit ”, “ The bureaucracy at the time of the paperwork made me leave the public university ”.

Within this negative meaning of the term bureaucracy that we are analyzing, it is interesting to verify it through what are practical cases. Thus, for example, it is established that one of the causes that leads many people to be reluctant to bet on self-employment at some point in their lives is precisely the amount of paperwork that must be carried out and also the great waste of time that that brings with it.

Despite this negative use of the term, sociology and administrative sciences understand bureaucracy as the structure characterized by regularized and explicit procedures. Bureaucracy implies hierarchical and impersonal relationships, specialization of work and division of responsibilities.

On a theoretical level, the bureaucracy allows the rules dictated by the authorities to be executed precisely and according to procedures already stipulated. In this way, human error is reduced and the action process is transparent.

The negative view of the bureaucracy arises from the rigidity of these same processes, which can make any type of procedure excessively slow. On the other hand, the bureaucracy does not take into account the alterations that can arise with the daily evolution and that demand new solutions for new problems.