It can be defined as the organisational structure with highly routine operating tasks performed under formalised rules and regulations with tasks assigned to various departments. It gives foundation to formal organisation. Max Weber evolved bureaucratic theory in his work, “The Theory of Social and Economic Organisation.”
Elements of Bureaucracy:
Hierarchy: There are managerial levels where each subordinate is supervised by his boss.
Division of Work: Total work is divided into specialised jobs. Each person job is broken down into simple, routine and well-defined tasks.
Rules and Regulations: Organisation frame formal rules and regulations which all the employees have to conform while conducting tasks. They have to be applied in an impersonal manner.
Departmentalisation: Similar tasks and activities are grouped into functional departments.
Narrow Span of Control: It states that no single executive should have many subordinates under his guidance. This is due to the fact that he can supervise employees of his department only. Narrower span leads to efficiency.
Records: Documents have to be kept for everything by maintaining files on a day-to-day basis. This helps in future reference of the past work.
Impersonal Relationships: There is no place for personal emotions and favours. Rules are for everyone, be it a manager or a clerk.
Administrative Class: There is a special class of officers, called bureaucrats, who are selected on the basis of their competence and skills. They are trained and posted in senior positions.
Rationality: Judgements are made in a rational manner according to an objective and prescribed rules and regulations.