A system of carrying on the business of government by means of departments or bureaus, each under the control of a chief, in contradiction to a system in which the officers of government have an associated authority and responsibility; also, government conducted on this system.
- Administration of a government chiefly through bureaus or departments staffed with nonelected officials.
- The departments and their officials as a group: promised to reorganize the federal bureaucracy.
- Management or administration marked by hierarchical authority among numerous offices and by fixed procedures: The new department head did not know much about bureaucracy.
- The administrative structure of a large or complex organization: a midlevel manager in a corporate bureaucracy.
- An administrative system in which the need or inclination to follow rigid or complex procedures impedes effective action: innovative ideas that get bogged down in red tape and bureaucracy.