Modern Bureaucracy Term Paper

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Today's organizations, regardless of their business focus, possess qualities of a bureaucratic nature, including excessive paperwork, red tape, and other challenging bottlenecks that can hinder productivity and performance. Consequently, organizations are often limited in their activities and the potential to produce quality results in a timely fashion. The following references from professional journals will discuss this dilemma in detail, both within governmental bodies and within the public sector. It will be demonstrated that modern bureaucracies can serve as both a blessing and a nightmare, depending on the situation.

An article by Chang and Turnbull (2002) entitled "Bureaucratic behavior in the local public sector: a revealed preference approach" provides an analysis of the popular opinion that bureaucracies are largely influenced by public spending, and although this concept deserves attention, other theories have been developed that contrast this model. According to the authors, "In the U.S. And other countries with strong democratic institutions, however, local government decisions reflect not only bureaucratic preferences, but also the possibly countervailing effects of the voters in the public decision making process" (192). As a result, it should be noted that strongly democratic nations such as the United States are subject to bureaucratic decisions largely based upon voting preferences and opinions. However, regardless of voter preferences, some bureaucracies still function independently of the citizen vote and objections to the consequences of red tape and excessive paperwork. This viewpoint is only one of many that will be presented in the remainder of this discussion.

Research conducted by Kaufman in the article entitled "Major players: bureaucracies in American Government" discusses the ultimate bureaucratic web: the federal government. This article indicates that bureaucracies are not necessarily the enemy in many cases; rather, they are important in shaping public policy in significant ways. According to the author, "Public bureaucracies are well-equipped, energetic participants in the governmental process. If you overlook them, or even if you just underestimate their role, your understanding of the way the American system of government works will be seriously deficient...since bureaucrats have in fact come to exercise significant power, and since politicians are inevitably involved in administration, a more balanced treatment is essential to a full understanding of government" (23-24).

On the other hand, it is inevitable that with all of the requirements that bureaucracies entail, most citizens view them as a complete hindrance and an annoyance rather than a benefit. According to the author, "Chances are most of us are uninformed about and indifferent to most agencies and programs; our complaints are aimed only at those we experience" (25). Consequently, much of the criticism of bureaucratic agencies is unfairly assumed because many opinions are based solely on a person's negative experience with a particular bureaucracy. Therefore, it is believed that all bureaucracies will result in negative encounters. It is only when their users attempt to understand the complexities behind bureaucracies can they be better appreciated for their merits.

Lawrence E. Lynn's article entitled "The myth of the bureaucratic paradigm: what traditional public administration really stood for" provides a history of public administration over the years, with viewpoints from Woodrow Wilson and Frederick A. Cleveland, amongst others. Of particular interest is the theory proposed by John Gaus in 1931, which brings attention to "the increasing role of the public servant in the determination of policy, through either the preparation of legislation or the making of rules under which general legislative policy is given meaning and appreciation" (150). This theory supports the general assumption that bureaucracies play a significant role in the development of public policy initiatives that are designed to improve overall living. However, Gaus also explains that "unless the civil servant's sense of responsibility is encouraged, the responsibility of administration is incomplete, negative, and external" (150). This is perhaps the reason why so many people assume that bureaucracies are a negative entity rather than a positive one, since…

Sources Used in Document:

Works Cited

Chang, C., and Turnbull, G. "Bureaucratic behavior in the local public sector:

revealed preference approach." Public Choice 113 (2002): 191-209.

Kaufman, H. "Major players: bureaucracies in American government." Public

Administration Review 61.1 (2001): 18-42.

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