Etymology and usage
The term "bureaucracy" is French in origin and combines the French word bureau – desk or office – with the Greek word κράτος (Kratos) – rule or political power. It was coined in the mid-18th century by the French economist Jacques Claude Marie Vincent de Gournay. Gournay never wrote the term down but was later quoted at length in a letter from a contemporary:
The late M. de Gournay... sometimes used to say: "We have an illness in France which bids fair to play havoc with us; this illness is called bureaumania." Sometimes he used to invent a fourth or fifth form of government under the heading of "bureaucracy."
The first known English-language use dates to 1818 with Irish novelist Lady Morgan referring to the apparatus used by the British to subjugate its colony as "the Bureaucratie, or office tyranny, by which Ireland has so long been governed." By the mid-19th century, the word was being used in a more neutral sense, referring to a system of public administration in which offices were held by unelected career officials. In this sense "bureaucracy" was seen as a distinct form of management, often subservient to a monarchy. In the 1920s, the definition was expanded by the German sociologist Max Weber to include any system of administration conducted by trained professionals according to fixed rules. Weber saw the bureaucracy as a relatively positive development; however, by 1944 the Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises opined in the context of his experience in the Nazi regime that the term bureaucracy was "always applied with an opprobrious connotation," and by 1957 the American sociologist Robert Merton suggested that the term "bureaucrat" had become an epithet in some circumstances. The word "bureaucracy" is also used in politics & government with a disapproving notion to mention about official rules that make it difficult to do things. In workplaces, the word is used very often to mention about complicated rules, processes, and written work that make it hard to get something done.