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Outline The Bureauracy Chapter 13

Outline The Bureauracy Chapter 13 - THE BUREAUCRACY A...

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THE BUREAUCRACY A. INTRODUCTION Many Americans have a negative view of the federal bureaucracy. The very mention of the world “bureaucracy” often conjures up a memory of an important document lost, or a scolding for some alleged misconduct of personal business. Bureaucratic power is felt in almost all areas of American life, and yet bureaucracies are barely mentioned in the Constitution. Bureaucratic agencies are created and funded by Congress, but most of them report to the president, who supervises them as he takes "care that the laws shall be faithfully executed" (Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution). This dual responsibility to Congress and to the president is an indication of the complex nature of the organization and functioning of federal government bureaucracies. A. BUREAUCRACY IN MODERN GOVERNMENTS A bureaucracy is a large, complex organization of appointed, not elected, officials. Bureaucracies exist in many countries in many areas of life, including corporations, universities, and local and state governments. The term actually comes from the French word “bureau,” a reference to the small desks that the king’s representatives set up in towns as they traveled across the country doing the king’s business. So “bureaucracy” literally means something like “government with small desks.” B. MAX WEBER ON BUREAUCRACY Max Weber was one of the first people in modern times to think seriously about the importance of bureaucracy. He wrote in Germany during the early 20 th century, when developing capitalism was spawning more and more large businesses. The changing economic scene had important implications for government. He created the classic conception of bureaucracy as a well-organized, complex machine that is a "rational" way for a modern society to organize its business. He did not see them as necessary evils, but as the best organizational response to a changing society. According to Weber, a bureaucracy has several basic characteristics: hierarchical authority structure - A chain of command that is hierarchical; the top bureaucrat has ultimate control, and authority flows from the top down. task specialization - A clear division of labor in which every individual has a specialized job
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extensive rules - Clearly written, well-established formal rules that all people in the organization follow clear goals - A clearly defined set of goals that all people in the organization strive toward the merit principle - Merit-based hiring and promotion; no granting of jobs to friends or family unless they are the best qualified impersonality - Job performance that is judged by productivity, or how much work the individual gets done Weber emphasized the importance of the bureaucracy in getting things done and believed that a well-organized, rational bureaucracy is key to the successful operation of modern societies.
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Outline The Bureauracy Chapter 13 - THE BUREAUCRACY A...

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