Chapter 13 - Study Guide - Chapter Thirteen The Federal...

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POLS 101I – American National Government Hagan Chapter Thirteen The Federal Bureaucracy: Administering the Government Lecture Objectives Having read the chapter, the students should be able to do each of the following: . Describe the major functions of the executive bureaucracy. . Identify the major types of organizations within the federal bureaucracy and provide examples of each type. . Contrast the patronage, merit, and executive leadership systems and discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each system. . Comment on how the bureaucracy functions as a creative political agent and policymaker. . List some of the ways in which bureaucratic agencies are held accountable for their activities. Evaluate the relative effectiveness of these measures. . Define and comment on the agency point of view. Describe the implications of this perspective on bureaucratic politics, policy making, and accountability. . Discuss the inherent conflict between bureaucratic power and democratic values. . Assess the impact and effectiveness of downsizing the federal bureaucracy. Focus and Main Points The author describes the nature of the federal bureaucracy and its personnel in this chapter. The author clarifies the responsibilities, organizational structure, and personnel management practices of the bureaucracy. He also focuses on bureaucratic policymaking and the ways in which agencies acquire the power they need in order to maintain themselves and their programs. Included in this chapter is an examination of the power imperatives of the bureaucracy and the related issue of bureaucratic accountability. The main points of the chapter are as follows: Bureaucracy is an inevitable consequence of complexity and scale. Modern government could not function without a large bureaucracy. Through authority, specialization, and rules, bureaucracy provides a means for managing thousands of workers and activities. The bureaucracy is expected to respond to the direction of partisan officials and to administer programs fairly and competently. These conflicting demands are addressed through a combination of personnel management systems: the patronage, merit, and executive leadership systems. Bureaucrats naturally take an “agency point of view.” They seek to promote their agency’s programs and power. They do this through their expert knowledge, support from clientele groups, and backing by Congress or the president. Although agencies are subject to scrutiny by the president, Congress, and the judiciary, bureaucrats are able to achieve power in their own right. The issue of bureaucratic power and responsiveness is a basis of continuing efforts to reinvent government. Chapter Summary Bureaucracy is a method of organizing people and work which is based on the principles of hierarchical authority, job specialization, and formalized rules. As a form of organization, bureaucracy is the most efficient means of getting people to work together on tasks of great magnitude and complexity. It is also a form of organization that is prone to waste and rigidity, which is why efforts are being made to reinvent it.
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