The term "Red Tape" usually refers to excessive regulation on a transaction or approval that requires the seeking of repetitious review from more sources that necessary for the transaction or approval. For example, when a simple transaction requires excessive paperwork or for you to get signatures from different officials in different locations.
Red tape is an unfavorable term used to describe the inefficiency of any large public or private organization as a result of elaborate and lengthy procedures. People used red string to tie official documents together. The delay and inefficiency in such systems results from rigid, and sometimes inappropriate, observance of rules and regulations rather than faulty rules.
The phenomenon of red tape is more likely to exist in organization following bureaucratic form of management prescribed by Max Weber in late nineteenth and early twentieth century. The bureaucratic approach to management is characterized by division of labor, hierarchy, formalized rules, impersonality, and the selection and promotion of employees based on ability.