It is a pattern of administration involving government departments in which complicated official routine is observed in the conduct of public affairs and in the activities of public officials. It is laying much emphasis on issues that demand urgent attention.

Bureaucracy is associated with inefficiency, lack of initiative, unnecessary rigidity in the approach to public problems but to some extent these problems are inseparable from administration because it is a process and an element of administration.


Causes of Bureaucracy

  1. Services rendered in most modern and democratic states are complex which involve formulation, implementation of rules and regulations as well as division of labour. All these are hierarchical (system of persons or things arranged in graded order).
  2. Another cause is the issue of accountability. Public officers are very careful about this and avoid making mistakes that will expose them to public criticism and condemnation. So, the outcome is that care is taken to examine all issues before them critically, resulting to a process which slows down action.
  3. There is a close relationship between size of an organization and bureaucracy. In a big organization, the shift is towards a strict adherence to issues with far-reaching objectivity coming into play. In a small organization, attention to issues is quickly expedited with promptness.
  4. Another point is the issue of specialization. This is very important when implementing issues that are complex. Specialization is restricting and it narrows the individuals activities.
  5. Another point of reckoning is organization. This is because it provides the necessary structuring in hierarchical order of functions and personnel. It helps every worker to know where he or she fits in and whom he or she is responsible to. With this arrangement rigidity and inflexibility set in, resulting to red-tapism (bureaucracy).


Arguments in Favour of Bureaucracy

  1. It is seen as indispensable and ensures efficiency especially in large organisations.
  2. It is a necessary instrument in areas of adequate planning, control and even implementation.
  3. It makes for strict adherence to rules and regulations governing most institutions or organisations.
  4. It produces some level of competence on en the part of a worker.