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Elements of Bureaucracy. Mr. Monk APGoPo LACES Magnet. Newt Gingrich on the failures of the American Bureaucracy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=15D3ElV1Jzw. I. The Federal Bureaucracy. A. What is the Bureaucracy?. The bureaucracy is any large, complex administrative structure

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Elements of bureaucracy

Elements of Bureaucracy

Mr. Monk


LACES Magnet

Newt Gingrich on the failures of the American Bureaucracy:


I the federal bureaucracy
I. The Federal Bureaucracy

A. What is the Bureaucracy?

  • The bureaucracy is any large, complex administrative structure

  • A hierarchical organization with job specialization and complex rules

  • By definition, it is not privately owned.

  • The bureaucracy is based on the principle of hierarchical authority, job specialization, and formal rules

  • Merit really has nothing to do with it

I the federal bureaucracy1
I. The Federal Bureaucracy

A. What is the Bureaucracy?

  • A bureaucracy is a way of organizing people to do work

  • Bureau = desk; cracy = type of governmental structure (French)

  • A bureaucrat is a person with defined responsibilities in a bureaucracy

  • The main purpose of the federal bureaucracy is to carry out the policy decisions of the President and Congress

I the federal bureaucracy2
I. The Federal Bureaucracy

A. What is the Bureaucracy?

  • Examples:

    • General Motors

    • The Southern Baptist Convention

    • The Catholic Church

    • The Department of Justice

    • LAUSD

I the federal bureaucracy3
I. The Federal Bureaucracy

B. Major Elements fo the Federal Bureaucracy

  • Nearly all of the bureaucracy of the Federal Government resides in the executive branch of government 

  • The Constitution gives almost NO guidance about the structure of the federal bureaucracy

  • The Framers simply didn't lay out the organization of cabinet departments, much less the independent agencies

I the federal bureaucracy4
I. The Federal Bureaucracy

B. Major Elements fo the Federal Bureaucracy

  • The bureaucracy is made up of three major groups of administrative agencies

    • The Executive Office of the President

    • The 15 cabinet departments

    • Independent agencies

I the federal bureaucracy5
I. The Federal Bureaucracy

B. Major Elements fo the Federal Bureaucracy

  • The administration consists of the officials and agencies of the executive branch that carry out public policies

  • These administrators impact public policy in the following ways:

    • Through delaying the implementation of policy dictated either by the legislative or executive branches

    • By writing rules and regulations;

    • By enforcing such rules, regulations and laws

    • Adjudicating conflicting interests

I the federal bureaucracy6
I. The Federal Bureaucracy

C. The Name Game

  • Department

  • Administration or Agency

  • Commission

  • Corporation or Authority

I the federal bureaucracy7
I. The Federal Bureaucracy

C. The Name Game

  • Department

  • The term "department" is reserved for agencies of cabinet rank

I the federal bureaucracy8
I. The Federal Bureaucracy

C. The Name Game

  • Administration or Agency

  • The terms "administration" or "agency" are used to refer to any governmental body or, more particularly, to a major unit headed by a single administrator of near-cabinet rank

  • The terms agency and administration are used interchangeably

I the federal bureaucracy9
I. The Federal Bureaucracy

C. The Name Game

  • Commission

  • The term "commission" is reserved for agencies charged with the regulation of business activities

  • Commissions are headed by varying numbers of top-ranking officers, or commissioners

I the federal bureaucracy10
I. The Federal Bureaucracy

C. The Name Game

  • Corporation or Authority

  • The terms "corporation" and "authority" are used for agencies that have a board and a manager and that is designed to conduct business-like activities

I the federal bureaucracy11
I. The Federal Bureaucracy

C. The Name Game

  • While the above terms have precise definition, they are not used consistently

  • There is little uniformity in the use of terms describing units within the executive branch and the lines are now blurred

Ii history of bureaucracy
II. History of Bureaucracy

Three Distinct Growth Periods

  • Post Civil War Period

  • The Great Depression

  • The Great Society/Cold War

Ii history of bureaucracy1
II. History of Bureaucracy

A. Post Civil War Period


(d) - Getting a job because of who you know or having the right connections

It was an accepted practice for nineteenth century presidents staffed their government through the “spoils system”

Ii history of bureaucracy2
II. History of Bureaucracy

B. The Great Depression

  • Era of FDR saw the development of the alphabet soup agencies and the development of social security

Ii history of bureaucracy3
II. History of Bureaucracy

C. The Great Society/Cold War Era

  • Saw a massive government attempt to fight poverty, fix the environment, deal with civil rights and fight communism around the world

Iii patronage system
III. Patronage System


(d) - Getting a job because of who you know or having the right connections.

It was an accepted practice for nineteenth century presidents staffed their government through the “spoils system”

Iii patronage system1
III. Patronage System

A. Advantages of Patronage

  • Ensured loyalty in appointees

  • Allowed the president to somewhat control what the executive office was doing

    In other words, every government appointment was essentially political in nature

Iii patronage system2
III. Patronage System

A. Advantages of Patronage

  • Andrew Jackson first got the reputation for creating the spoils system

  • He called it “rotation in office” but Jackson wasn’t doing anything different than his predecessors

Iii patronage system3
III. Patronage System

B. Reform

  • Things began to change in 1881 when a frustrated office-seeker who did not get a job under the Garfield Administration

  • The man (Charles Giteau) shot and killed President James A. Garfield

  • VP Chester Arthur – the Prince of Patronage himself – shocked everyone by encouraging the passage of the Pendleton Civil Service Act (1883) which created what is now known as the Civil Service

Iii patronage system4
III. Patronage System

B. Reform

1. Civil Service System

  • The Civil Service System means that people are given jobs based upon merit-that is reward competence with neutrality (entrance exams, promotions)

  • The idea being the need to create a non-partisan bureaucracy

Iii patronage system5
III. Patronage System

B. Reform

2. Hatch Act

  • Passed in 1938 and amended in 1993, the Hatch Act was passed and stated that bureaucrats couldn’t engage in partisan politics while in duty

  • Created a non-partisan civil service meant insulating government workers from the risk of being fired when a new party comes to power

Iii patronage system6
III. Patronage System

B. Reform

2. Hatch Act

Under the terms of the Hatch Act, civil servants are permitted to:

  • Vote in primary elections

  • Contribute money to a political party

  • Attend a political rally

  • Place a bumper sticker on their personal property

  • PRIOR to the 1993 amendments, civil servants were prohibited from coordinating a campaign for a friend running for political office

Iv appointment powers
IV. Appointment Powers

  • Although the spoils system officially ended with the Pendleton Act of 1883, presidents still have a chance to appoint the top positions in government

  • Every four years, Congress publishes what is called the “Plum Book,” which includes about 4,000 of the top jobs in the bureaucracy

Iv appointment powers1
IV. Appointment Powers

  • The president’s appointment powers are important for 3 reasons:

    1. He can affect how laws will be interpreted

    2. The president can set the tone for the administration through his appointments (Reagan is a good example)

    3. The president can establish party dominance in the top positions

V civil servants gs workers
V. Civil Servants (GS Workers)

  • There are approximately 3 million bureaucrats (17 million if state and local public employees are included) 

  • Until about 100 years ago, a person got a job with the government through the spoils system (a hiring and promotion system based on knowing the right people)

  • Patronage: the practice of giving government jobs to the President's friends and political supporters

V civil servants gs workers1
V. Civil Servants (GS Workers)

  • The spoils system was largely defended by President Jackson who believed that the largest number of citizens should have the privilege of serving in government office, that any person of "normal" intelligence was fit to hold any government position, and that all government officials should belong to the party elected by the people

  • Support for a civil service system increased dramatically as a result of the assassination of President Garfield in 1881

V civil servants gs workers2
V. Civil Servants (GS Workers)

  • President Jimmy Carter improved the system when he urged Congress to pass the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978

  •  Reforms included the creation of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), which now tests and hired most federal workers (Persons who pass civil service exams are placed on a "register" kept by OPM), and the Merit System Protection Board which enforces the merit system in the federal bureaucracy

  •  Consequently, today, most federal agencies are covered by some sort of civil service system, based on the merit principle

V civil servants gs workers3
V. Civil Servants (GS Workers)

  • Salaries are likewise proposed by the Civil Service System, subject to congressional appropriations

  • In general, at lower and middle levels, the federal pay scale is comparable to that found in the private sector, but at higher levels, it is significantly lower

  • For example, blue collar workers in the federal civil system are generally paid the same as blue collar workers in the private sector

  • On the other hand, the Secretary of Transportation is paid significantly lower than the CEO of General Motors

Vi bureaucracy today
VI. Bureaucracy Today

  • Any major organization by definition is a bureaucracy; corporations, universities, church, army, etc.

  •  Although not mentioned in the Constitution or any of the 27 Amendments – except briefly in Article II – Bureaucracies constitute one of America’s two unelected policymaking institutions (the other being the judiciary branch)

VI. Bureaucracy Today

  • Everyone likes to bash bureaucracies

  • It’s popular, especially when running against Washington as an outsider

    • Reagan = Overregulation

    • Carter = Wasteful government

    • George Wallace = “Pointy-head” bureaucrats

  •  Reagan, Clinton and Carter ran as outsiders, claiming that they would downsize the bureaucracy and reform it

VI. Bureaucracy Today

  • Liberals and conservatives have different viewpoints on bureaucracies

  • Conservatives: Bureaucracy is too large and too liberal with too much power that is unaccountable – it must be downsized or eliminated completely (too much meddling in our lives)

  • Liberals: Bureaucracy is too slow, too willing to keep status quo: not reform minded enough; doesn’t protect us enough

Vii myths reality

A. Americans Do Not Like Bureaucrats

  • Actually, Americans claim they dislike bureaucracies, not the bureaucrats themselves

  • More than 2/3 claim that they’re experience was positive when it came to dealing with individual people

  • When asked who they trust more, politicians or civil servants, people picked civil servants by 5:1.2 margin

Vii myths reality1

B. Bureaucracies Are Way Too Intrusive

  • Generally this refers to independent regulatory agencies

  • Census Bureau is a good example

Vii myths reality2

C. Most Bureaucrats work in Washington D.C.

  • Actually, only 10% of 3 million Federal workers work in D.C. - the rest work in states or overseas

  • California has the most Federal civilian bureaucrats: 295,000

  • Who are they? Look in the phone book under “US Government” – postal office, social security, FBI, Department of Agriculture, etc

Vii myths reality3

D. Bureaucrats Are Ineffective and Inefficient

  • Q: What are the rules for the game bureaucracy?

  • A: There is only one rule – the one to move loses

Vii myths reality4

  • In the mid 1990’s, roughly 70% of Americans said that almost anything run by the federal bureaucracy was bound to be inefficient and wasteful

Vii myths reality5

Who is this?

  • Donald Duck was put on payroll of HUD (Housing and Urban Development) at a salary of $99,999 – twice the normal salary for civil service pay

  • HUD never figured it out and had to be told by Congressional investigators that they “hired’ Donald Duck.

Vii myths reality6

  • No proven substitute for bureaucracy

  • When they run efficiently, no one praises them

  • When there is a scandal or mismanagement, everyone believes bureaucracies are bad

  • Everyone talks about red tape but some red tape is actually all the protections for consumers or minorities that were demanded by these groups in the first place!

Viii bureaucratic theories

A. Weberian Model

  • Around the turn of the century, Max Weber predicted that one day our lives would be dominated by a bureaucracy

  • That day is here

  • Everything major decision you will make in life will have to, in some way, goes through a bureaucracy

Viii bureaucratic theories1

A. Weberian Model

  • Weber thought modern life was so complex and government was getting increasingly involved in people’s lives, bureaucracies were necessary and inevitable

  • Weber believed bureaucracies drew their power from their expertise

  • Because political rulers were in no position to argue with the technical knowledge of the bureaucrats, they should allow the bureaucrats to run things.

Viii bureaucratic theories2

B. Rational Model

  • Associated with the Weberian model

  • This theory states that bureaucracies are needed because of the complex decision that takes place in policymaking

Viii bureaucratic theories3

B. Rational Model

Rational model states the following must be observed:

1. Hierarchical Authority Structure:

  • Power flows from top down and responsibility from bottom up

     2. Task Specialization With Rules:

  • Experts implement jobs with detailed rules that are consistent and always in place so training will be easier

    3. Merit Principle:

  • Entrance and promotion are awarded on the basis of demonstrated abilities rather then “spoils system” – in other words, bureaucracy should be non-political

Viii bureaucratic theories4

C. Monopolistic Model: (Acquisitive)

  • Parkinson’s law: Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion

  • This theory has less of a benign view of bureaucracies than does Weber’s

  • Some political scientists dismiss the Weberian model as too neat and easy to explain – others see bureaucracies as essentially “acquisitive” - acting like corporations

  • Instead of maximizing profits, corporations try and maximize their budgets – that is increase their size and power in terms of the government’s corporations

Viii bureaucratic theories5

C. Monopolistic Model: (Acquisitive)

  • Bureaucracies can also be monopolistic - there is no alternative to them (fire department, Police, social security, welfare, and local schools)

  • So like monopolistic firms, they are less efficient and more costly to operate because they lack competition

Viii bureaucratic theories6

D. Garbage Can

  • According to this theory, there is no grand conspiracy to get power nor are bureaucracies completely rational

  • Bureaucracies will grow as they try out ideas and experiment

  • A lot of these ideas are trial and error – bureaucracies will latch onto to any idea (pull it out of the garbage can) and run it to see if it works.

Ix firing a bureaucrat
IX. Firing A Bureaucrat

We already know how a bureaucrat gets their job:

  • Patronage System

  • Appointment System

    • Plum Book

  • The president’s appointment powers are important for 3 reasons:

    • He can affect how laws will be interpreted

    • The president can set the tone for the administration through his appointments

    • The president can establish party dominance in the top positions

Ix firing a bureaucrat1

  • Once hired, civil service employees are protected by the civil service system

  • Federal workers have incredible job security and know how to keep their job

  • They file 12 times more complaints with EEOC when fired than private sector workers – take advantage of anti-discrimination laws

  • The chart explaining the steps to take to fire a bureaucrat is 21 feet wide – one foot per each month

Ix firing a bureaucrat2

  • Out of 3 million federal civil service workers, only about 200 will be fired for incompetence and 2,000 for misconduct

  • That’s like in an office of 100 - 1 would be fired every 10 years and another would resign every 15 years.

X bureaucratic organizations

A. Cabinet

  • 15 Departments

    • Dep’t of Agriculture

    • Dep’t of Commerce

    • Dep’t of Defense

    • Dep’t of Education

    • Dep’t of Energy

    • Dep’t of Health and Human Services

    • Dep’t of the Interior

X bureaucratic organizations1

A. Cabinet

  • Dep’t of Justice

  • Dep’t of Labor

  • Dep’t of State

  • Dep’t of Transportation

  • Dep’t of Treasury

  • Dep’t of Veterans Affairs

  • Dep’t of Homeland Security

  • Dep’t of Housing and Urban Development

X bureaucratic organizations2

A. Cabinet

  • Cabinet departments are the most visible organizations in the federal bureaucracy

  • Today’s Cabinet employs more than 70% of all federal civil servants and spends 93% of all federal dollars

X bureaucratic organizations3

B. Independent Regulatory Commissions

  • The regulatory agencies operate outside of the 3 branches of government

  • They were created by Congress because Congress felt it didn’t have the time nor the expertise to monitor policy in all the different areas of American society

X bureaucratic organizations4

B. Independent Regulatory Commissions

  • The regulatory agencies actually operate in ways similar to the other 3 branches of government:

    • Legislatively, they make the rules that govern our lives

    • Executively, they provide enforcement of those rules

    • Judicially, they decide disputes involving the rules they have created

X bureaucratic organizations5

B. Independent Regulatory Commissions

  • In contrast to Cabinet, heads of these independent agencies can not be fired by President or Congress without cause

  • By law, each board and commission must be balanced with members of both political parties

X bureaucratic organizations6

C. Independent Executive Agencies

  • Examples: CIA, NASA, EPA, GSA

  • Not part of the Cabinet (are smaller) but still reports directly to the President

  • Engage in service rather than regulatory operations

X bureaucratic organizations7

D. Government Corporations

  • Examples: TVA, CPB (Corporation for Public Broadcasting), FDIC, Amtrak, US Postal Service

  • Similar to private corporations in two ways:

    • Provide services that could be handled by private sector

    • Typically charge for their services

X bureaucratic organizations8

D. Government Corporations

  • But …

    • No stockholders – you can’t buy stock

    • No distribution of dividends and no capitol gains taxes

    • Aren’t designed to make a profit but are supposed to look out for public good

Xi controlling the bureaucracy

A. The President

  • One way the president can control the bureaucracy is through the appointment process

  • The president can appoint about 3, 000 of the top jobs in his administration - about 1% of all the executive employees

  • The president can set the tone for his administration through is appointments (conservative, liberal, etc)

Xi controlling the bureaucracy1

A. The President

  • Recent presidents have tired repeatedly to centralize the power of the executive branch in order to control the bureaucracy

  • Ronald Reagan required that all regulations created by the executive departments need to be approved by the OMB (Office of Management and Budget)

  • OMB in turn tried to push the departments to enforce largely conservative rules and regulations.

Xi controlling the bureaucracy2

A. The President

  • Reagan tried to make sure that his top advisers were staunch conservatives who would follow his line of thinking about big government

  • Many of Reagan’s appointees were personally opposed to the departments they headed

    • Interior: James Watt

    • EPA-HUD: Samuel Pierce

Xi controlling the bureaucracy3

B. Congress

  • Although regulatory agencies are important and seem to dictate our lives more than Congress, it is Congress that can create and kill these bureaucracies

Xi controlling the bureaucracy4

B. Congress

Congress affects bureaucracies in 3 major ways

1. Authorization of Funds:Once Congress allows a bureaucracy to exist, it has to authorize funds for it carry out its functions. NASA for example has periodic reauthorization while Social Security is permanent. The more control over authorization that Congress has the more control it can get over the bureaucracy. Sunset lawsrequire that an existing program or agency be regularly reviewed for its effectiveness

Xi controlling the bureaucracy5

B. Congress

2. Appropriating funds: Just because the bureaucracy has money authorized - it doesn’t mean that Congress will appropriate all that money

Congress has to pass appropriations bills in order for the bureaucracy to actually use its money

Xi controlling the bureaucracy6

B. Congress

3. Investigations and hearings (oversight) Congressional committees conduct investigations and hearings if they think bureaucracies are out of control or abusing people

Bureaucratic agency heads can be ordered to testify in front of a committee. Congress can ask the GAO (General Accounting Office) or CBO (Congressional Budget Office) to investigate agencies budgets in order to inform Congress on how that bureaucracy is doing

Xi controlling the bureaucracy7

C. Agency Allies

  • Agency Allies seek outside group in order to cement a useful relationship of a Congressional committee or interest group.

  • Iron Triangle (3-way alliance among legislators in Congress, bureaucrats, and interest groups).

Xi controlling the bureaucracy8

C. Agency Allies

  • Many agencies have important allies in Congress and the private sector, especially those bureaus that serve the need of specific sectors of the economy or certain regions of the country

    • Department of Agriculture = Farm organizations

    • Department of Interior = Environmental groups, ranchers, grazers, business

    • Department of HUD = Mayors and real estate developers

Xi controlling the bureaucracy9

C. Agency Allies

  • But Iron Triangles are much less common today than they once were:

    • Growth of Interest groups creates counterpressures on Bureaucracy and Congress

    • Growth of subcommittees in Congress means that most agencies are subject to control by many different legislative groups

    • The courts have made it easier for all kinds of individuals and interests to intervene in agency affairs

X issue networks

  • Are slowly replacing iron triangles as policymaking becomes more and more complex

  • Instead of a 3-way alliance, issue networks can contain a multitude of interested parties

  • Issue networks also tend to be temporary alliances joining and disbanded after policy is panned and executed

X issue networks1

  • Due to the growth of sub-committees, interest groups and divided government, it is not just the bureaucracy and Congress making the decisions

  • Issue networks can contain congressmen and bureaucrats but also interest groups, think tanks, the media

  • These networks are constantly changing, as members who have technical expertise in the areas of policy become involved