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The purpose of this study is to reveal how school principals position themselves against bureaucracy and investigate their conceptions of bureaucracy in public education system. Phenomenological approach was used to analyze the qualitative data. Participants were 19 primary, middle and high school principals from 11 provinces of Turkey. The quantitative data was collected from 445 principals and were used in the level 2 (26 sub-regions) based on TURKSTAT regional classification. At least one province of each of these sub-regions was selected. Findings indicate that principals conceive bureaucracy based on dysfunctional aspects of Weberian bureaucracy. Principals interpret bureaucracy as “an instrument of domination, disrupts relations between individuals and institutions, a red-tape, slows down the process, the routine of the public and prevents communication.Bureaucratic roles of public bureaucrats were also emphasized in the study. Findings suggest that bureaucratic roles and street-level bureaucracy should be taken into account in principal selection and training processes.