Bureaucratic Organizations: Examples, Lesson & Quiz

  • 0:01 What Is a Bureaucratic…
  • 1:10 Characteristics of…
  • 1:55 Examples of…
  • 3:45 Lesson Summary
Create An Account
To Start This Course Today
Used by over 10 million students worldwide
Create An Account
Try it free for 5 days
Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Ashley D. Manker
In this lesson, we will discuss what a bureaucratic organization is. We will also cover a few characteristics and examples of bureaucratic organizations, and then you can test your understanding with a quiz.

What Is a Bureaucratic Organization?

A bureaucratic organization is a form of management that has a pyramidal command structure. The bureaucratic organization is very organized with a high degree of formality in the way it operates. Organizational charts generally exist for every department, and decisions are made through an organized process. A strict command and control structure is present at all times. Bureaucracies are meant to be orderly, fair and highly efficient.

Bureaucratic organizational structures have many layers of management, cascading down from senior executives to regional managers to departmental managers - all the way down to shift supervisors who work alongside frontline employees. So, authority is centered at the top, and information generally flows from the top down. For example, a senior executive may implement a new policy stating that employees must have all overtime approved by management before actually working the overtime. The new policy will go from the desk of the senior executive all the way down to the frontline employees.

Characteristics of Bureaucratic Organizations

The basic characteristics of a bureaucracy are:

  • Rules and job responsibilities are written down and clearly stated
  • Clear hierarchy of power is concentrated among a few high-ranking managers
  • Appointments and promotions of officers are formal because these officers will be held accountable
  • Employees are hired based on their skills and knowledge, not because of favoritism or luck
  • Salaries are tied to a pay-grade system
  • Bureaucracies are unable or unwilling to adapt to changing conditions quickly
  • Micro-managing is common

Examples of Bureaucratic Organizations

Modern bureaucracies in the United States take many forms. Some examples include:

  • Department of Motor Vehicles
  • Prisons
  • Police departments
  • Colleges and universities

There are many advantages to this type or organization. Senior-level managers in bureaucratic organizations have a great deal of control over how the business is run. This control allows them to service many customers within a short period of time and to make sure that work is consistent and efficient. Another advantage is that there are written guidelines and rules, so work is predictable and leaves little room for guessing, which could lead to errors.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 10 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member

Already a member? Log In

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 100 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 2,900 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

1
You just finished your first lesson. Study.com has thousands of lessons to help you meet your educational goals.
5
You're making great progress. Keep it up!
10
Congrats on viewing 10 lessons! You're doing great.
Keep clicking that 'next lesson' button whenever you finish a lesson and its quiz. Got It
You now have full access to our lessons and courses. Watch the lesson now or keep exploring. Got It
You're 25% of the way through this course! Keep going at this rate and you'll be done before you know it.
Two days in a row, nice! Keep your streak going to get the most of your learning and reach your goal faster.