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THE BUREAUCRACY. The Federal Bureaucracy. 15 Cabinet Departments Agencies, boards, and commissions Executive Office of the President 2.1 million civilian employees outside DoD 773,000 civilian employees at Dept. of Defense

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the federal bureaucracy
The Federal Bureaucracy
  • 15 Cabinet Departments
  • Agencies, boards, and commissions
  • Executive Office of the President
  • 2.1 million civilian employees outside DoD773,000 civilian employees at Dept. of Defense
  • Biggest employers: Veterans Affairs, Homeland Security, Health and Human Services, Dept. of Education, Social Security Administration
civil service
Civil Service
  • Nonpartisan, professional government employees hired on basis of expertise
  • Hatch Act prohibits them from most political activity
  • They are insulated from political pressure but are very difficult to fire for cause as a result
  • Policy implementation: Congress enacts a program (such as Pell Grants) and the Dept. of Education puts it into effect, decides how to carry it out
max weber vay bur
Max Weber (VAY-bur)
  • German sociologist conducted a study of the German military and developed a theory of the characteristics of bureaucracy:
  • Hierarchy: A chain of command from top to bottom. Those at the top supervise those below them, and those at the bottom report to those at the top.
  • Division of labor: The bureaucracy’s workload is divided up according to subject matter, not just assigned randomly.
  • Specialization: Different parts of the bureaucracy develop expertise in different parts of the subject matter.
weber s characteristics of bureaucracy
Weber’s characteristics of bureaucracy
  • Span of control: Each unit of the bureaucracy is responsible for making policy in its own area. It doesn’t venture outside its area and no other unit interferes in its control of its own area.
  • Rules and regulations: The bureaucracy develops rules and regulations for how it functions, it doesn’t just operate at random; this lends itself to impartiality and predictability.
  • Goal orientation: The organization is set up in a way that best allows it to carry out its mission.

Impartiality and predictability: The bureaucracy treats like cases alike. It doesn’t play favorites. If Case A and Case B are identical, the way Case A is handled predicts how Case B is handled.

    • Pell Grant eligibility is determined by a given formula, including factors such as your family’s ability to pay and the cost of the institution you want to attend. You and a student whose circumstances are identical to yours will receive the same amount of financial aid.
problems with us bureaucracy
Problems with US bureaucracy
  • Unclear division of labor: many different agencies have overlapping jurisdictions and responsibilities for parts of the same problem, and they don’t communicate with each other.
  • Conflicting goals and responsibilities within the same agency: Dept. of Homeland Security was created to improve communication and coordinate policy after 9/11, but now it’s too big to operate efficiently or effectively because it has many different responsibilities: immigration, airport security, etc.
  • Unclear chain of command