A bureaucracy that functions as though the individual bureaus and bureaucrats are making authoritative decisions independently of all the other bureaus and bureaucrats.
Generally used among college students to describe the situation of having to resolve a problem (billing, financial aid, holds, transfers of credits, etc) independently at each level of administration rather than just once at the originating department.
Johnny paid his library fines and the librarian removed the registration-hold from his account, but because of the bureautocracy he had to show the receipt to registration, accounts receivable, and the bursar before he could actually register for classes.
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