Bureaucracy - Honoré de Balzac
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Bureaucracy

By Honoré de Balzac

  • Release Date: 2012-06-19
  • Genre: Historical

Description

This is a historical book. A bureaucracy is 'a body of non-elective government officials' and/or 'an administrative policy-making group'. Historically, bureaucracy referred to government administration managed by departments staffed with nonelected officials. In modern parlance, bureaucracy refers to the administrative system governing any large institution. Since being coined, the word 'bureaucracy' has developed negative connotations for some. Bureaucracies are criticized when they become too complex, inefficient, or too inflexible. The dehumanizing effects of excessive bureaucracy were a major theme in the work of Franz Kafka, and were central to his most well known work, The Trial. The elimination of unnecessary bureaucracy is a key concept in modern managerial theory and has been a central issue in numerous political campaigns. Others have defended the necessity of bureaucracies. The German sociologist Max Weber argued that bureaucracy constitutes the most efficient and rational way in which human activity can be organized, and that systematic processes and organized hierarchies were necessary to maintain order, maximize efficiency and eliminate favoritism. But even Weber saw unfettered bureaucracy as a threat to individual freedom, in which an increase in the bureaucratization of human life can trap individuals in an "iron cage" of rule-based, rational control.