Government organizations, such as the IRS, and major corporations, such as PepsiCo, are examples of bureaucracy. A bureaucracy is any complex organization in which there is a clearly defined hierarchy of top-down authority and specialized departments that make up parts of a whole.
Bureaucracy is a common structural form for large organizations. A major corporation that has a CEO who oversees the operations of the entire company and manages a team of lower-level executives, who each in turn oversee the operation of a specific aspect of the company and manage a team of lower-level executives, and so on, is an example of a bureaucracy. The structure of a bureaucracy is described as a bureaucratic structure, and people who work in bureaucracies can be described as bureaucrats. Bureaucracies have clearly defined roles for each of their members, and positions of authority are clearly defined and understood by each organization as a whole.
The word bureaucracy can be used in a somewhat derogatory way, especially when used regarding government. Large federal government agencies, such as the Department of Veterans' Affairs, are necessarily complex entities because they oversee so many people across the United States' many states and territories. The structure of bureaucracy is not necessarily a bad thing, but it can be frustrating for individuals dealing with a bureaucratic system to go through all of the steps necessary to get what they need. While the term bureaucracy is often applied to government, it can apply to the private sector as well.