A bureaucracy is the name given to a large organization that is structured hierarchically to carry out specific functions. They are generally characterized by an organization chart. Public bureaucracies are basically any organization. They do not have a single set of leaders; they serve the citizenry. Private bureaucracies are those that have a single set of leaders-its board of directors. Government bureaucracies are not organized to make a profit.
The Weberian Model of the modern bureaucracy which was developed by the German sociologist Max Weber, who viewed bureaucracies as rational, hierarchical organizations in which decisions are based on logical reasoning.
The Acquisitive Model of bureaucracy that views top-level bureaucrats as seeking to expand the size of their budgets and staffs to gain greater power. The Monopolistic Model is a model of bureaucracy that compares bureaucracies to monopolistic business firms. Lack of competition in either circumstance leads to inefficient and costly operations.
Administrative Agencies are a federal, state, or local government unit established to perform a specific function. Administrative agencies are created and authorized by legislative bodies to administer and enforce specific laws.
The Size of the Bureaucracy
Excluding the military, the federal bureaucracy includes approximately 2.7 government employees. Since the 1970s the growth of bureaucracy has been mainly at the and local levels.
The Organization of the Federal Bureaucracy
The executive branch, which employs most of of the governments staff, has four major types of structures: Cabinet Departments One of the 15 departments of the executive branch (State, Treasury, Defense, Justice, Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Labor, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Education, Energy, Transportation, and Veterans Affairs). They are the major organizations of the federal government. Each department is headed by a Secretary and has several levels of undersecretaries, assistant secretaries, and so on. Presidents theoretically have considerable control over these departments, however, sometimes they fail to follow the Presidents wishes. Independent Executive Agencies are bureaucratic organizations that are not located within a department but report directly to the president, who appoints their chief officials. Independent Regulatory Agencies are typically responsible for a specific type of public policy.
Their function is to make and implement rules and regulations in a particular sphere of action to protect the public interest. It is an agency outside the major executive departments charged with making and implementing rules and regulations. Members of regulatory agency boards are appointed by the president with the consent of the Senate. The President can influence them by appointing people of their own parties or individuals who share their political views when vacancies occur., in particular when the chair is vacant.
Government Corporation an agency of government that administers a quasi-business enterprise. These corporations are used when activities are primarily commercial. It differs from public and private corporations. Private corporations have shareholders who elect a board of directors, who in turn choose the corporate officers, such as the president and vice president. When it makes a provide, it has to pay taxes. A government corporation has a board of directors and managers but not stockholders. We cannot buy shares of stock under this. Profits remain in within the corporation under the government corporation.
Capture is the act by which an industry being regulated by a government agency gains direct or indirect control over agency personnel and decision makers.
Challenges to the Bureaucracy
The federal bureaucracy is both complex and very specialized. Every department has its own goals, missions, and constituents. Some of these problems that occur within each department require more than one agency, causing overlapping jurisdictions to cause confusion and problems that no one has the authority to potentially solve.
Terrorism was a challenge because it needed to be organized in order to stop it. The main problem with this was integrating agencies whose missions were very different.. Another was dealing with natural disasters. Natural Disasters leave people without power and without a home, and potentially causing many deaths. So many agencies and levels of government must be coordinated that sometimes responses are delayed and aid does not get to the victims in a timely way. Its the struggle of the citizens themselves.
Staffing the Bureaucracy
Two categories of bureaucrats:
Political Appointees The president can make political appointments to most of the top jobs in the federal bureaucracy. Civil Servants The president can also appoint ambassadors to foreign posts. The rest of the national governments employees belong to the civil service and obtain their jobs through a much more formal process.
Civil Service Act of 1883 The size of the bureaucracy increased by 300 percent between 1851 and 1881, the cry for civil service reform became louder.
Spoils System is an application of the principle that to the victor belong the spoils. Its the awarding of government jobs to political supporters and friends.
Pendleton Act (Civil Service Reform Act) was passed placing the first limits on the spoils system. It is an act that established the principle of employment on the basis of merit and created the Civil Service Commission to administer the personnel service.
Merit System is the selection, retention, and promotion of government employees on the basis of competitive examinations.
Civil Service Commission is the initial central personnel agency of the national government, created in 1883.
Modern Attempts at Bureaucratic Reform
The most important actual and proposed reforms in the last several decades include:
Sunshine Laws The Government in the Sunshine Act is a law that requires all committee directed federal agencies to conduct their business regularly in public session. Sunshine laws, today, exist at all levels of government.
Sunset Laws The Sunset Legislation are laws requiring that existing programs be reviewed regularly for their effectiveness and be terminated unless specifically extended as a result of these reviews. It places government programs on a definite schedule for Congressional consideration. This idea was originally suggested by Franklin D. Roosevelt, however his proposal was never adopted.
Privatization is the replacement of government services with services provided by private films. It occurs when government services are replaced by services from the private sector. Some people believe that they could be provided more efficiently. It is most successful at the local level.
Incentives for Efficiency to make things better, state governments focus on maximizing the efficiency and productivity of government workers by providing incentives for improved performance.
More Protection for so-called Whistleblowers Whistleblowers are people who bring public attention gross governmental inefficiency or an illegal action. They may be clerical workers, managers, or even specialists, like scientists. Some state and federal laws encourage employees to blow the whistle on their employers wrongful actions by providing monetary incentives to the whistleblowers.
Bureaucrats as Political and Policy Makers
Because Congress is unable to oversee the day-to-day administration of its programs, it must delegate certain powers to administrative agencies. Enabling Legislation is a statute enacted by Congress that authorizes the creation of an administrative agency and specifies the name, purpose, composition, functions, and powers of the agency being created. The agencies should put into effect laws passed by Congress. They provide relatively little guidance to agency administrators as to how the laws should be implemented; meaning that the agencies must decide how best to carry out the wishes of Congress.
In the rule making environment EXAMPLE: Suppose that Congress passes a new air pollution law. The Environmental Protection Agency might decide to implement the new law through a technical regulation on factory emission. This proposed regulation would be published in the Federal Register, a daily government publication, so that interested parties would have an opportunity to comment on it. Individuals and companies that opposed the rule might then try to convince the EPA to revise it. Some parties might try to persuade the agency to withdraw the legislation. There is a 60-day waiting period before the rule can be enforced.
Bureaucrats are policy makers. The Iron triangle is the three-way alliance among legislators, bureaucrats, and interest groups to make or preserve policies that benefit their respective interests.
Issue Network is a group of individuals or organizations which may consist of legislators and legislative staff members, interest group leaders, bureaucrats, the media, scholars, and other experts that supports a particular policy position on a given issue. It describes the policy making process. Members of a particular issue network work together to influence the president, member of Congress, administrative agencies, and the courts to affect public policy on a specific issue. Each policy issue may involve conflicting positions taken by two or more issue networks.
Congressional Control of the Bureaucracy
Congress has the power of the purse and theoretically could refuse to authorize or appropriate funds for a particular agency. Congress has the legal authority to decide whether to fund or not to fund administrative agencies and can exercise oversight over agencies through investigations and hearings. Congressional Committees conduct investigations and hold hearings to oversee an agencys actions, reviewing them to ensure compliance with congressional intentions. The agencys officers and employees can be ordered to testify before a committee about the details of an action. Through these oversight activities, especially int eh questions and comments of member of the House of Representatives or the Senate during the hearings, Congress indicates its positions on specific programs and issues.
One theory of Congressional control over the bureaucracy suggests that Congress cannot possibly oversee all of the bureaucracy. Two possible approaches police control and the fire alarm approach. The fire alarm approach is more likely to discover gross inadequacies in a bureaucracys job performance. Congress and its committees react to scandal, citizen disappointment, and massive negative publicity by launching a full-scale investigation into whatever agency is suspected of wrongdoing.