Difference Between Bureaucracy and Democracy | Bureaucracy vs Democracy

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

The key difference between bureaucracy and democracy is that a bureaucratic administration is one that is made up of employees of the state. In contrast, Democracy is a form of governance that is created by the people or by those who have been chosen to represent them. 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.

Difference Between Bureaucracy and Democracy PDF

The difference between bureaucracy and democracy is that, unlike a democracy, a bureaucracy has officials or non-elected government officials that work in a government. Countries form management systems that differ in how they elect their working committees. 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 unnecessary steps in the SOPs made from bureaucratic desks. Let us check the difference between bureaucracy and democracy given below.

Difference 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.

Bureaucracy vs Democracy

Difference Between Bureaucracy and Democracy

Type of management system

Democracy (Government by People)

Bureaucracy (Government by Offices)

Election of Leaders

The people of the country elect leaders.

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.


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.


Democracy does not hold great accountability.

In the case of poor accountability, corruption exists.

Bureaucracy provides a sense of accountability to the system.


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.

Bureaucracy and Democracy

The relation between Bureaucracy and Democracy is both paradoxical and complementary, and it lies in the growth of bureaucratic rule and its advanced effectiveness. 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.

What is Bureaucracy?

A bureaucracy is a group of non-elective government employees and a committee that develops administrative policies. It is referred to as a government administration since non-elected personnel administer the many departments.

  • 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, required when following security methods are critical.
  • Bureaucracy is usually blamed and supposed to be unfavourable because processes are more crucial than efficiency.
  • Unlike a democracy, a 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.

What is Democracy?

A democracy is a system of governance created by, for, and with the consent of the governed. By electing their own representatives, citizens participate in creating the government. By using their votes, they have the ability to make or break the government.

  • Every citizen is treated equally.
  • 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 can 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.


Key Difference Between Bureaucracy and Democracy

The key Difference Between Bureaucracy and Democracy is that Bureaucracy is responsible for implementing laws and policies, on the other hand, Democracy gives the power to elected representatives to formulate policies.

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