Bureaucracy

The word bureaucracy has been defined by Max Weber, to indicate the power of the offices: a form of exercise of power based on impersonal rules, procedures, roles defined and not modifiable.

The etymology of the word is hybrid, from the French bureau (office) together with the greek κρατεω (kratéo, have the power to).

The term has been used from Elliott Jaques and from other scholars. However, at least in Italian language, it is convenient to use the term “executive hierarchy”, since the word “bureaucracy” has assumed a negative  meaning.

The definition of Jaques is: bureaucracy is a “hierarchically stratified managerial employment system, in which people are employed to work for a wage or salary; that is to say  a stratified employment hierarchy with at least one manager, who in turn has a staff of employed subordinates (A General Theory of Bureaucracy, Gregg 1993, page 49)”

Bureaucratic systrems are therefore a secondary and dependent institutions.

Secondary since it can not be established directly and autonomously, but must be set up by an  external authority, entrepreneurial, political or otherwise, that can be defined as primary or institutional authority.

Dependent in the sense that the continuity of its existence depends on the primary authority, on whose behalf it carries out its work, the aims of which are fixed by the primary authority.

A major difference between paid employment and self-employment, in fact, is that self-employment has the prerogative to decide, at least partially, its aims and targets.

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