The actual role .of bureaucracy in the decision-making process, and policy formulation varies from one governmental system to another. Structurally, a bureaucratic form of organization exhibits a number of characteristics, the important ones are:
- Division of Labour: The total task of the organization is broken down into a number of specialized functions.
- Hierarchy: Hierarchy manifests itself in a number of levels of differently graded functionaries in which supervision of the lower office is done by the higher ones.
- System of Rules: The rights and duties of the employees and the modes of doing work are governed by clearly laid rules.
- Role of Specificity: Every role in the organization is clearly ear marked with specific job descriptions. Organizational expectations are reflected in job specificity.
There are a set of behavioural characteristics of bureaucracy which can also be described here.
- Rationality: Bureaucracy represents a rational form of organization. Hence by definition it leaves no room for irrationality. Decisions are taken on strict evidence. Alternatives are considered objectively to choose a path for decision.
- Impersonality: A bureaucratic form of organization does not entertain irrational sentiments. Official business is conducted without regard for persons. It is a machine like construct and as such it is characterized by high degree of impersonality.
- Rule orientation: Depersonalization of the organization is achieved through formulation of rules and procedures which lay down the way of doing work. The employees are to follow the rules strictly in discharge of their duties.
- Neutrality: A corollary of impersonality, this characteristic implies absence of bias. Bureaucracy as an instrument serves any kind of political regime without being aligned to it. It has commitment to work only and to no other value.