chapter  6
Bureaucratic Structures
ByCarl J. Couch, Shing-Ling S. Chen
Pages 18

Bureaucracies are information technologies in the same sense that assembly lines are material technologies. Bureaucratic structures emerge out of the record-keeping activity of an encompassing social system. In mature bureaucratic structures each person has specific responsibilities, is accountable to specific other, and has a rank in a hierarchical order. Some bureaucrats accumulate information, others preserve it, others dispense it, and still others supervise those who manage it. The most significant external relationship for each bureaucracy is that of the chief bureaucrat to the authority of the encompassing organization. The epitome of the evils associated in bureaucratic structures was achieved by the state bureaucracy of Germany during the Nazi regime. The bureaucracy of the German state in service of the Nazi party is an extreme case. Instead, "the bureaucrat's version of how bureaucracy works has been pressed into the service of science by modern functionalists to explain not only bureaucracy but social action in general".