Michele Seibler

Yesterday Oct 11 at 8:42am

Option 1

I was a bit unclear on what a bureaucracy was until this week's lesson and readings. From what I understand and according to the text, a bureaucracy is a complex and hierarchal organization where several offices, each with a specific task, have a clear chain of command, and appointment and advancement of personnel are based on merit. A bureaucrat is someone who works for a bureaucracy (Greenberg & Page 2019, pg. 366). Bureaucracies are all around us – the DMV, financial organizations and insurance companies are a few examples. After understanding what a bureaucracy is, I think they can both help and hinder my life. Bureaucracies are something that we need to live as citizens of the United States, but often they have rules and regulations that can be a hinderance in many aspects of our lives. The rules and decisions of bureaucracies seem to be made without the public's best interest in mind, and the public often isn't involved in decision making. They all revolve around money. They are often unclear with the public, leaving people confused and overwhelmed with things they don't understand. It can take months to resolve certain issues or get question answered. Processes that should be simple can be very stressful. John Launer wrote an article titled “Battling Bureaucracy,” which is what it feels like sometimes. He explains how he jumped through hoops with bureaucracies trying to help a friend get money back. One of the things he said a couple of times in the article was “money problems figure more in peoples' lives than medical problems, especially now that we're in a serious cost of living crisis” (Launer 2023). One thing that is a large issue in bureaucracies is communication. These organizations are not good at communicating with the public; it often feels as if you're trying to talk through a wall. You could talk to one representative and have them tell you one thing, then speak to another and find out something completely different. This makes everyday things, like dealing with insurance companies, very stressful and difficult. If these bureaucracies can become more transparent with the public, it would help tremendously and there would be less confusion and frustration. 


Greenberg, E. S., & Page, B. I. (2019).
The Struggle for Democracy, 2018 Elections and Updates Edition (12th ed.). Pearson Education.

Links to an external site.

Launer, J. (2023). John Launer: Battling Bureaucracy.
BMJ: British Medical Journal (Online).

Links to an external site.