Bureaucracy and Personality

  • Mokgata Matjie
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-31816-5_674-1



Bureaucracy: as a governance system based on strict rules and regulations that renders its organizational functioning independent of the personal qualities of the employees.

Personality: defined as the set of consistent or habitual behaviors, cognitions, and emotional patterns that evolve from biological and environmental factors. They are the combination of characteristics or qualities that form an individual’s distinctive character.


Bureaucracy is a governance or administration system characterized by strict following of rules and regulations. While this system might work for some employees, it is not necessarily working for all employees due to their different personalities. Its formal structures tend to neutralize the otherwise personal, emotional, irrational, and often political behavior of the humans (Weber 1968).

Personality refers to the long-standing traits and...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Barrick MR, Mount MK (1991) The big five personality dimensions and job performance: a meta-analysis. Pers Psychol 44:1–26CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bennis W (1965) Beyond Bureaucracy. Trans-Action 2:31–35Google Scholar
  3. Bennis WG (1968) Beyond bureaucracy. In: Bennis WG, Slater PE (eds) The temporary society. Harper and Row, New York, pp 53–76Google Scholar
  4. Goldberg LR (1990) An alternative “description of personality”: the big five factor structure. J Pers Soc Psychol 59:1216–1229CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. John OP, Srivastava S (1999) The big-five trait taxonomy: history, measurement, and theoretical perspectives. In: Pervin LA, John OP (eds) Handbook of personality: theory and research, vol 2. Guilford Press, New York, pp 102–138Google Scholar
  6. McCrae RR, Costa PT (1997) Personality trait structure as human universal. Am Psychol 52:509–516CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Merton R (1940) Bureaucratic structure and personality. Soc Forces 18:560–668CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Thompson V (1961) Modern organization. Knopf, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  9. Weber M (1968) Basic sociological terms. In: Roth G, Wittich C (eds) Economy and Society. University of California Press, Berkeley, pp 3–62Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Industrial and Organizational Psychology DepartmentUniversity of South Africa (Unisa)PretoriaSouth Africa