It is characterized by standardized procedure (rule-following), formal division of responsibility, hierarchy, and impersonal relationships. In practice, the interpretation and execution of policy can lead to informal influence.
Bureaucracy is a concept in sociology and political science. Four structural concepts are central to any definition of bureaucracy: a well-defined division of administrative labor among persons and offices, a personnel system with consistent patterns of recruitment and stable linear careers, a hierarchy among offices, such that the authority and status are distributed among actors, and formal and informal networks that connect organizational actors to one another through flows of information and patterns of cooperation.
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Students competed in imperial examinations to receive a position in the bureaucracy of ancient China.
Bureaucracy Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.