Bureaucrat: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A bureaucrat is a member of a bureaucracy and can comprise the administration of any organization of any size, though the term usually connotes someone within an institution of a government. Bureaucrat jobs were often "desk jobs" (the French for "desk" being bureau, though bureau can also be translated as "office"), though the modern bureaucrat may be found "in the field" as well as in an office.



Max Weber defined a bureaucratic official as the following:[1]

  • He is personally free and appointed to his position on the basis of conduct
  • He exercises the authority delegated to him in accordance with impersonal rules, and his loyalty is enlisted on behalf of the faithful execution of his official duties
  • His appointment and job placement are dependent upon his technical qualifications
  • His administrative work is a full-time occupation
  • His work is rewarded by a regular salary and prospects of advancement in a lifetime career
  • He must exercise his judgment and his skills, but his duty is to place these at the service of a higher authority. Ultimately he is responsible only for the impartial execution of assigned tasks and must sacrifice his personal judgment if it runs counter to his official duties.
  • Bureaucratic control is the use of rules, regulations, and formal authority to guide performance. It includes such things as budgets, statistical reports, and performance appraisals to regulate behavior and results.

As an academic, Woodrow Wilson professed:[2]

But to fear the creation of a domineering, illiberal officialism as a result of the studies I am here proposing is to miss altogether the principle upon which I wish most to insist. That principle is, that administration in the United States must be at all points sensitive to public opinion. A body of thoroughly trained officials serving during good behavior we must have in any case: that is a plain business necessity. But the apprehension that such a body will be anything un-American clears away the moment it is asked. What is to constitute good behavior? For that question obviously carries its own answer on its face. Steady, hearty allegiance to the policy of the government they serve will constitute good behavior. That policy will have no taint of officialism about it. It will not be the creation of permanent officials, but of statesmen whose responsibility to public opinion will be direct and inevitable. Bureaucracy can exist only where the whole service of the state is removed from the common political life of the people, its chiefs as well as its rank and file. Its motives, its objects, its policy, its standards, must be bureaucratic. It would be difficult to point out any examples of impudent exclusiveness and arbitrariness on the part of officials doing service under a chief of department who really served the people, as all our chiefs of departments must be made to do. It would be easy, on the other hand, to adduce other instances like that of the influence of Stein in Prussia, where the leadership of one statesman imbued with true public spirit transformed arrogant and perfunctory bureaux into public-spirited instruments of just government.

Bureaucrats of the EU are frequently termed "eurocrats" in the English language in Europe - a portmanteau of the European Union (or Europe), and bureaucrat.

In Imperial China, bureaucrats largely composed the social elite. Known in Europe as Mandarins, after the Portuguese word for 'councillor', this variety of bureaucrats passed a set of complicated examinations and were posted throughout the empire.

As depicted in the arts

See also


  1. ^ Max Weber. Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft. p. 650–78. 
  2. ^ Woodrow Wilson. "The Study of Administration". 2. Political Science Quarterly. p. 197–222. http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/index.asp?document=465. Retrieved 2008-03-25. 

External links

  • John Kilcullen, Mq.edu.au, Lecture -- Max Weber: On Bureaucracy
  • Ludwig von Mises, Mises.org, Bureaucracy

Study guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Wikiversity:Bureaucratship article)

From Wikiversity

Purple question mark.svg This page is a proposed Wikiversity policy, guideline, or process. The proposal may still be in development, under discussion, or in the process of gathering consensus for adoption. References or links to this page should only describe it as a "proposal".

This page should eventually look something like Wikiversity:Custodianship. We can start by continuing discussion started here. A first draft is below.


Draft policy

Bureaucrats are part of Wikiversity's support staff. This is a proposed policy document detailing their roles, duties and rights. In this document, their role with respect to changing user groups of accounts is emphasized.

Role of bureaucrats

First and foremost, bureaucrats must be well-trusted members of the community. They must have a deep understanding of Wikiversity's mission and processes, and must be excellent judges of consensus. They must demonstrate through their extensive contributions to Wikiversity that they are not rash in decision-making, nor uncivil to others, even those whom they are in disagreement with. They must also have the ability and willingness to thoroughly explain decisions or he or she makes, as well as to admit fault, where appropriate.

Bureaucrats do not have the right to use their status to appropriate any undue influence in community discussions - their participation in such activities is on a par with any other community member, insofar as is possible. Whatever influence they may have should be akin to that of any other community member, according to the weight of their opinions or their previous participation in the project.

Duties of bureaucrats

  • Bureaucrats are charged with the responsibility of declaring at an appropriate time, whether a candidate for custodianship, bureaucratship, or bot status is successful or otherwise. This particular responsibility of the bureaucrat should not be superseded by the community-at-large. This is a formality intended to streamline processing of requests for user group changes, and to minimize ambiguity introduced to the process when non-bureaucrats intervene.
  • Bureaucrats act as the final interpreter of consensus with respect to candidacies for user group changes.

Technical capabilities of bureaucrats

Bureaucrats have the following technical capabilities associated with their user account:

  • Renaming users
  • Marking accounts with bot status
  • Setting user accounts as custodian
  • Setting user accounts as bureaucrat

Generally speaking, these actions are taken independently of one another, based on prevailing community norms.


By marking an account as bot, custodian, or bureaucrat, the bureaucrat expands the set of groups which a user belongs to. Bureaucrats may remove the bot group from a user, but are not capable of removing the custodian or bureaucrat group. The technical means to do this are associated with the stewards of Wikimedia.

Current bureaucrats

You can see the actual bureaucrats on Wikiversity here. Please feel free to contact them via their user talk pages, or by leaving a message on Wikiversity:Request custodian action.

New bureaucrats

How many bureaucrats does Wikiversity need?

How long is a piece of string? Any answer to this will be too vague, I feel. Cormaggio talk 16:12, 20 April 2007 (UTC)

Simpler question

Does Wikiversity need more than two bureaucrats?

What is the method for creating new bureaucrats?

  • Bureaucrats can currently be nominated at the same page as that for custodians, ie Wikiversity:Candidates for Custodianship. (A separate page can be created solely for nominating bureaucrats, of course.)
  • There needs to be a very strong majority of users in support of a candidate, for that candidate to be made a bureaucrat. (70%? more?)
  • Nominations should be advertised on announcement pages, and kept open for a period of at least a week before being acted upon. (More? Two weeks?)

Can the community remove a bureaucrat?

  • and if so, how?
  • and short of removal, how can the community question the behavior of a bureaucrat?
    • There should be a page for feedback on both custodians' and bureaucrats' actions. (What to call it? Simply RfC?)
      • Note: we have Wikiversity:Custodian feedback.
    • Demoting bureaucrats should be an option, and should probably be done under the same guidelines as those for making a bureaucrat.
      • Indicate what role we require of stewards...

See also

  • List of Wikiversity bureaucrats
  • Wikiversity:Support staff

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