Species of Bureaucracy

  • Arthur M. Squires


Nearly 100 years ago, Max Weber initiated the formal study of bureaucracy. Historians had long appreciated the Roman Empire’s governing skills, which the Papacy inherited and used to control the Christian church of western Europe. By the end of the nineteenth century, characteristic bureaucratic structures had also developed for managing armies, postal services, censuses and vital statistics, supplies of sanitary water and disposal of sewage, railroads and telegraphs, banks and manufactures. Weber called attention to features that these bureaucracies shared:
  • • Organization around a central purpose.

  • • Awareness by all members of this purpose, even if some members are not directly involved with it.

  • • Systematic arraying of authority within a hierarchical structure.

  • • Strict accountability of all members for functions that they perform.

  • • A common set of rules to which all members work.


Shop Floor Middle Manager Consistency Factor Japanese Automobile Perfect Understanding 
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Suggested reading on bureaucracy

  1. Gordon Tullock, The Politics of Bureaucracy, Public Affairs Press, Washington, D.C., 1965.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arthur M. Squires
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Chemical EngineeringVirginia Polytechnic Institute and State UniversityBlacksburgUSA

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