Difference Between Bureaucracy and Democracy | Bureaucracy vs Democracy

By Shivank Goel|Updated : September 15th, 2022

Difference Between Bureaucracy and Democracy- Different countries form management systems that differ in how they elect their working committees. The two most common kinds of management systems are democracy and bureaucracy. India is a democratic country. This means the country's people can control the individuals with political power. Individuals who work in public offices are accountable to the people of that country. Unlike a democracy, bureaucracy has officials or non-elected government officials that work in a government.

Differences Between Bureaucracy and Democracy PDF

Recently, the Indian bureaucracy was highlighted in how it fought COVID-19 with red tape. Several instances, like fining solo car drivers for not wearing masks, were reported as some unnecessary steps in the SOPs made from bureaucratic desks.

Differences Between Bureaucracy and Democracy

The word democracy is derived from Demos, meaning people, and Kratos, meaning rule. The word bureaucracy is derived from Bureau, meaning office, and Kratos, meaning rule. Historians have credited Vincent de Gournay, a French philosopher, for introducing the word bureaucracy. The German sociologist Max Weber was the first to emphasize bureaucracy's importance. Some important Difference Between Bureaucracy and Democracy are listed below, along with a brief overview of each-

The relationship between bureaucracy and democracy is both paradoxical and complementary, and it lies in the growth of bureaucratic rule and its advanced effectiveness.

Bureaucracy:

  • The word bureaucracy suggests a complex system with multiple layers and practices.
  • The systems involved in a bureaucracy make the decision-making process a bit slow.
  • Bureaucracies can generate formal and inflexible plans, which is required when following security methods are critical.
  • The term bureaucracy is usually blamed and supposed to be unfavorable because of the sense that processes are more crucial than efficiency.
  • Unlike a democracy, bureaucracy has officials or non-elected government officials that work in a government.
  • A good example of bureaucracy is The Glass-Steagall Act in the USA.

Democracy:

  • The word democracy is derived from Demos, meaning people, and Kratos, meaning rule.
  • Control over government decisions about guidelines is constitutionally granted to elected officials.
  • All individuals have the right to vote in the election of officials.
  • Residents have a right to express themselves without the risk of harsh punishment on political issues broadly defined.
  • Citizens also have the right to form independent alliances or organizations, including independent political parties and welfare groups.
  • The government is self-governing; and capable of acting independently of restrictions imposed by others.

Here is a detailed explanation of how Democracy and Bureaucracy differ in terms of their respective features-

Type of management system

Democracy / Government by People

Bureaucracy / Government by Offices

Election of Leaders

Leaders are elected by the people of the country.

Bureaucrats are selected by following specific procedures.

Status of leaders

Leaders work for people and are considered officials who represent the people.

Bureaucrats do not represent people.

Basis of functioning

Democracy works on the values of Federalism, Republicanism, Equality, and more.

It focuses on hierarchy and centralization.

Work Performed

Development and implementation of laws and policies

  • Work on the paperwork involved in the implementation of laws and policies.
  • Advise the elected leaders on growth and development.

Tenure of Service

Leaders are elected for a short duration of 5 years.

Bureaucrats are hard to remove. A bureaucrat's tenure of service is till the fixed age of retirement, which generally depends on the role and responsibilities.

Benefits

  • Encourages people to be powerful.
  • Decentralizes power and promotes equality.
  • The selected individuals enjoy the right to frame policies or laws.
  • Power is divided, facilitating work.
  • Work is effectively conducted under supervision.
  • It consists of clearly defined rules and regulations, making it compliant with the requirement.
  • It implements the laws.

Accountability

Democracy does not hold great accountability. In case of poor accountability, corruption exists.

Bureaucracy provides a sense of accountability to the system.

Issues

  • Political agendas and personal interests precede people's interests.
  • Politicians often use divide and rule games in the name of religion, race, and language.
  • Corruption is prominent.
  • Red tape: Adherence to rules leads to a lack of flexibility.
  • A controlled system of rules often leads to delays.
  • Paperwork is necessary even for small tasks.

Freedom of expression

Democracy grants freedom of expression.

Bureaucracy doesn't grant freedom of expression.

There is a Difference Between Bureaucracy and Democracy at several levels. Both democracy and bureaucracy share a set of issues and benefits. However, a strong link exists between the two management systems. It is challenging to work as a government authority without professional structures.

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FAQs on Difference Between Democracy and Bureaucracy

  • There is a huge difference Between Bureaucracy and Democracy. Bureaucracy is the management system where bureaucrats are selected through a defined procedure while the people elect leaders in a democracy. The leaders elected by the people have a short-term tenure of service while bureaucrats can work till the age of retirement.

  • Historians have credited Vincent de Gournay, a French philosopher, for introducing the word bureaucracy. The word bureaucracy is derived from Bureau, meaning office, and Kratos, meaning rule.

  • The Difference Between Bureaucracy and Democracy in terms of work is that the bureaucrats work on the paperwork involved in implementing laws and policies. They also advise the elected leaders on the growth and development of the country. On the other hand, Democrats are the ones who develop the policies.

  • Yes. There is a Difference Between Bureaucracy and Democracy in terms of service tenure. Democrats serve for a definite short-term of 5 years, while in the case of bureaucracy, the bureaucrats can serve till retirement.

  • There is a difference between Bureaucracy and Democracy on the basis of functioning. As democracy works on the principle of federalism, republicanism, equality, etc. In contrast to this, the bureaucracy works on the basis of hierarchy and focuses on centralization.

  • Bureaucracy is a type of government system of officials that are non-elected by the people or a group of individuals formed to frame policies for the administration. E.g. Bureaucracy is the public administration in many countries.

  • Roughly 2,000 federal government agencies, committees, departments, and branches, are examples of bureaucracies. The most observable bureaucracies include the Internal Revenue Service, Social Security Administration, and Veterans Benefits Administration.

  • Earlier, a bureaucracy was a governance authority managed by departments staffed with non-elected officers. Today, Bureaucracy is the organizational procedure controlling institutions that are publicly held or privately owned institutions.

  • एक राजनीतिक सिद्धांत के रूप में नौकरशाही मुख्य रूप से प्रबंधन का एक केंद्रीकृत रूप है। लोकतंत्र सरकार का एक रूप है जिसमें लोगों को अपना शासी कानून चुनने का अधिकार होता है।

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