A bureaucracy is defined as the complex structure of offices, tasks, rules, and principles of organization that are employed by all large-scale institutions to coordinate effectively the work of their personnel. The classic conception of a bureaucracy was advanced by Max Weber, a German sociologist, who argued that the bureaucracy was a “rational” way for a modern society to conduct business. As Americans, we rely heavily on the structure and function of bureaucracies. From the most mundane to ornate tasks, the function of a bureaucratic society impacts each of our lives on a daily basis. It is the very detailed and structured departments that provide the essential foundation for which all of Americans rely on. Political bureaucracy in the United States is shared between several institutions. Each of the corresponding institutions has specific roles that must be met in order to have cohesion between the bureaucracy and the different branches of the government. It has often been stated that the political bureaucracy is equal to that of the fourth branch of government. These contributing roles are designed on a system of a hierarchical structure. The obvious top leader in the chain of command has ultimate control and the authority from there is dispersed from the top. Within each of the levels, each group or individual has a specific individualized job that must be carried out. There is a clear and well written established set of rules for all to follow and equally as
Throughout the rigmarole of political history of the United States of America, the growth of the “fourth branch of government”, the Bureaucracy, has been a prominent, controversial topic. Peter Woll, in his article “Constitutional Democracy and Bureaucratic Power”, and James Q. Wilson, in his article “The Rise of the Bureaucratic State”, discuss this developing administrative branch. The Constitution has no written mention of an “administrative branch”, and today’s Bureaucracy is often tedious, corrupt, and even undemocratic. But such a branch’s development and expansion is necessary in order to keep par with an evolving and changing society.
In his book, Bureaucracy: What Government Agencies do and why they do it, James Q. Wilson’s main objective is to better define the behavior of governmental bureaucracy, believing traditional organizational and economic theory does not adequately explain their actions. Wilson believes that government agencies are doomed to be perceived as inefficient entities by the public. He gives examples of commonly held perceptions of bureaucracies and reveals how these are mostly misconceptions. He points to the environment of bureaucracy, where rules and procedures, dictate goals, along with context, constraints, values, and norms.
The federal bureaucracy is the group of government organizations that implement policy. The federal bureaucrats belong, for the most part, to the group of government agencies led by the president’s cabinet (the collection of appointed officials tasked with leading various federal government departments such as the State Department, Department of Homeland Security etc.) (Geer et al.). These department heads, known as cabinet secretaries, are appointed by each new president. The federal bureaucracy is responsible for writing regulations that implement the laws. In this, the federal bureaucracy’s importance cannot be understated. Congress passes laws, the president signs them, but it is the responsibility of the bureaucracy to actually implement them in the most effective, unburdening way.
The most prominent model of bureaucracy was formulated by German Sociologist Max Weber during the nineteenth century. Webster’s model was formulated from the rampant patronage systems that existed during his time. Webster’s model proposed a solution for more professionally and efficiently managed merit-based organizations.Webster’s model however, represented a broad framework rather than an all encompassing model, complete in every detail.The central goal of Webster’s model was to make possible an optimum degree of control.Weber's bureaucratic theory emphasized the need for a hierarchical structure of power. It recognized the importance of division of labor and specialization. A formal set of rules was bound into the hierarchy structure to insure stability and uniformity. Weber also put forth the notion that organizational behavior is a network of human interactions, where all behavior could be understood by looking at cause and effect. He prescribed these five key elements(1) division of labor and functional specialization, (2) hierarchy, (3) maintenance of files and other records, and
Like many words in the English language, bureaucracy has been twisted over the years to mean something different; much like how awful went from meaning “full of awe” to “very bad or unpleasant”. In And the Band Played On, we see organizational practices that obstruct progress referred to as “bureaucratic”, when the official definition refers to a system of governance where state officials make important decisions instead of representatives. A complete switch in how we see our administration and governmental organizations occurs because people do not trust their leaders. This fear of the unknown is the central theme of the movie and relates back to the United States governance: of the people, by the people, for the people. When the public deems that they are not making the important decisions, then bureaucracy has turned on its head and the ironic use becomes the true pronouncement.
Bureaucracy is able to act independent from the president and Congress, and has quasi-legislative and quasi-judicial powers. The size of the federal government has been debated in every presidential election for the last 35 years. Some people think that the bureaucracy has grown too large and too powerful. Americans sometimes get frustrated with the slow process of bureaucracies. For example the DMV is a place that most people dread having to visit. Between long lines, endless paperwork, and employees who don’t always know what they’re doing, the whole process can be rather
Bureaucracy involves non-elected agents that are often seen as the “worker bees” of government such as those in civil service. They execute the law through an organized structure that maintains specific functions, rules, and procedures. They must not be taken for granted. One example of the use of regulations would be the FDA’s role to ensure American health through appropriate regulation of new medication. Through the effective hierarchal organization, duties are completed faster and more efficiently. Some also argue that bureaucracy decreases room for favoritism and all have equal opportunity. For example, all students applying for loans will have their application reviewed, thus creating an equal opportunity for all. Similarly, bureaucracy allows for the hiring of expert officials who show merit and gives the opportunity to be promoted. While they are not involved the process of policy
Chapter eight of “Essentials of American Government Roots and Reform” describes the federal bureaucracy and its function within the federal government. The book defines the federal bureaucracy as “the thousands of federal government agencies and institutions that implement and administer federal laws and programs.” I argue that while the federal bureaucracy is necessary for some functions, in other ways it has grown too large and burdensome, and the individual agencies’ function and power should be narrowed and reduced.
However, despite Max Weber’s theory that bureaucracies are like iron “iron cages” that are a efficient form of administration. Prior to modern government reform patronage, spoils, and bribery were just part of the political environment for Public Administrators. In today’s, modern government Public Administrators are hired based on the merit and technical qualifications that secure the individual can carry out the duties of the office. However, Public Administrators are forced to work in a hierarchical organization
A bureaucracy is not only needed in American democracy, furthermore, it plays an essential role to keep it running smoothly. Some American citizens disagree that bureaucracies are beneficial for our democracy because they do not get to vote in the officials or bureaucrats. However, if they would be elected officials then the nominees running would campaign for fame or to be the next bureaucrat. This would create disloyalty among the nominees. One of the responsibilities of government bureaucrats is to implement the law given by Congress. If bureaucracy did not exist this responsibility would be delegated to congress, and the checks and balance system would not be as influential pertaining to laws. The Federal Bureaucracy provides the American people with the fifteen executive departments. These departments are incredibly important and they address and regulate the protection, health, education, transportation, etc, of the citizens of America. American democracy depends on and benefits greatly on the organized bureaucracies in government.
Bureaucracies function is to divide complex task amongst staffs comprised of experts that would be potentially more knowledgeable than the average congressman on a particular subject, enabling the government to function more efficiently. The three main utilities of bureaucracies are the implementation of laws written by congress, in addition to the delegation and enforcement of their own rules, and to settle disputes through administrative adjudication; which is function similar to that of a court. There is some controversy to bureaucracies’ abilities to create enforceable regulations as part of the executive branch, when typically such task would be left to the legislative branch. The process by which bureaucracies create these regulations
When things get done in America most credit goes either to congress, the president, or sometimes even the courts. While these titles do hold much of the responsibility for change a lot of America’s day to day activities are made possible because of factions of government known as the bureaucracy. Many citizens associate this with an unnecessary use of big government however, “Bureaucracy actually means any large, complex organization in which employees have specific job responsibilities and work within a hierarchy of authority” (Janda, et al.). The implementation of bureaucracy allows for a more efficient work flow. The bureaucratic functions are to aid in the enforcement and implementation of legislation, to make new rules for the public to
A simpler way to think of what is a bureaucracy is to think of what is a bureaucrat: a bureaucrat is any person in a secondary or tertiary function within an organization. For example, in an architectural firm, you have principal architects, staff architects, intern architects, accountants, and administrators (I am ignoring the CA and PM functions for this example). All of the architects primarily do design work, that is the function of the firm. The principals also do some marketing, which is really a secondary function, so they are part bureaucrat and part functionary. The
The current United States' government consists of three branches that makes laws, enforcing laws, and fight for the laws. Within those three branches, there are also organizations that fulfill other duties, for example, the legislative branch has the Library of Congress which archives all important documents for citizens to access and inform. The Architect of the Capitol is established in order to maintain, develope, and preserve the U.S. capitol. Similarily, the federal bureaucracy also executes similar tasksin order to maintain, develope, preserve, and improve the lifestyle and security of U.S citizens. Within the federal bureaucracy, there are 15 main cabinets and many independent agencies that manages platforms to the lowest level of living.
Bureaucracy is ahierarchical organization which follows strict rules and regulations in achieving desired goals and which has tendency to gain supremacy over other organizations. Famous German sociologist theorized ideal- type of bureaucracy. Max Weber thought bureaucracy is the highest efficient organization which falls under legal rational authority. Soon after the theory came out, like other theory, ideal-type bureaucracy theory encountered severe criticisms.Alvin Gouldner, Robert Merton, Phillip Selznick, Peter Blau are some of them who criticized the ideal-type of bureaucracy.