A formal, rationally organized social structure involves clearly defined patterns of activity in which, ideally, every series of actions is functionally related to the purposes of the organization.  In such an organization there is integrated a series of offices, of hierarchized statuses, in which inhere a number of obligations and privileges closely defined by limited and specific rules.  Each of these offices contains an area of imputed competence and responsibility.  Authority, the power of control which derives from an acknowledged status inheres in the office and not in the particular person who performs the official role.  Official action ordinarily occurs within the framework of preexisting rules of the organization.  The system of prescribed relations between the various offices involves a considerable degree of formality and clearly defined social distance between the occupants of these positions.  Formality is manifested by means of a more or less complicated social ritual which symbolizes and supports the pecking order of the various offices.  Such formality, which is integrated with the distribution of authority within the system, serves to minimize friction by largely restricting (official) contact to modes which are previously defined by the rules of the organization.  Ready calculability of others’ behavior and a stable set of mutual expectations is thus built up.  Moreover, formality facilitates the interaction of the occupants of offices despite their (possibly hostile) private attitudes toward one another.  In this way, the subordinate is protected from the arbitrary action of his superior, since the actions of both are constrained by a mutually recognized set of rules.  Specific procedural devices foster objectivity and restrain the “quick passage of impulse into action.” (1968, p. 249).

As Weber indicates, bureaucracy involves a clear-cut division of integrated activities which are regarded as duties inherent in the office.  A system of differentiated controls and sanctions is stated in the regulations.  The assignment of roles occurs on the basis of technical qualifications which are ascertained through formalized, impersonal procedures (e.g., examinations).  Within the structure of hierarchically arranged authority, the activities of “trained and salaried experts” are governed by genera, abstract, and clearly defined rules which precludes the necessity for the issuance of specific instructions for each specific case.  The generality of the rules requires the constant use of categorizations, whereby individual problems are treated accordingly.  The pure type of bureaucratic official is appointed, either by a superior or through the exercise of impersonal competition; he is not elected (1968, p. 250).