Theory of organization in modern society, developed in particular by the German sociologist Max Weber (1864-1920).
Bureaucracy is the characteristic form of organization in modern society, not only in its government but in commerce and social institutions. Responsibility is vested in full-time officials whose livelihood is derived from their salaries and who are appointed on merit.
Bureaucracy works with written records, regular procedures, and accumulated precedent. It involves clear hierarchies of responsibility and command which enable the resources of an institution to be applied with maximum effect.
David Beetham, Bureaucracy (Milton Keynes, 1987)