Elective Public Management – Week 1 Development of Public Management: Bureaucracy Andreas Bergmann

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Elective Public Management – Week 1 Development of Public Management: Bureaucracy

What is your understanding of „bureaucracy“ or „bureaucratic“?

    • What is your understanding of „bureaucracy“ or „bureaucratic“?
    • Where or when do you experience bureaucracy?
      • In a positive way
      • In a negative way

Development of Public Management/ Bureaucracy

  • Overview week 2

    • Function of Public Activities
    • Before Bureaucracy
    • Bureaucracy by Max Weber
    • Appraisal of Bureaucracy

Function of Public Activities (1)

      • There are problems which cannot be resolved individually.

Function of Public Activities (2)

      • Government intervention
        • Individuals/corporations are limited by the government (i.e. police, taxes
      • Government provision of services
        • Individuals/corporations are provided with services by the government (i.e. schools, hospitals, galleries)

Function of Public Activities (3)

  • Legislative power = …

  • Judicial power = …

  • Executive power = …

  • Public administration is part of the executive power, as long as no special administrative entities supporting legislative power (i.e. parliament services) or judicial power (i.e. court administration) are concerned.

Function of Public Activities (4)

    • Rule of Law: Civil rights
    • Predictability
        • Government action needs to be predictable.
    • Equity
        • Equal treatment under equal circumstances.
    • Judicial control
        • Government action can be referred to an independant court.

Function of Public Activities (4)

      • Rule of Law: Implications for Public Administration
      • No execitive entity is above law.
      • If law requires activity, administration has no discretion.
      • Administrative action requires a legal basis.
      • Law is changed in the same procedure it has been enacted.

Before Bureaucracy

  • Before French Revolution: Absolutism

        • Elements:
          • Centralism
          • Civil servants are employed by the throne
          • All three powers are united in the throne

Before Bureaucracy

  • French Revolution: Division of power, but administration stays the same

        • Aristocratic civil service
          • Personal nomination
          • Inheritance of positions
        • In Switzerland mainly Canton BE (inkl. occupied territories VD, AG, JU) and BS

Before Bureaucracy

  • However: Separation of intervention and service provision

      • Intervention: Secular, by public administration
        • E.g. armed forces, police, prison, customs, taxation
      • Public services: Religious, by the church
        • E.g. schools, hospitals, homes
      • In Roman Catholic areas still observable

Bureaucracy as defined by Max Weber

  • Max Weber (*1864 in Erfurt, +1920 in München)

      • Lawyer, economist and sociologist
      • Most important publication: Die protestantische Ethik und der ‚Geist‘ des Kapitalismus (1904/05)
      • But also founder bureaucracy theory (in: „Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft“, 1922)

Bureaucracy as defined by Max Weber

  • Bureaucracy theory

      • One of the three classical organizational theories (the others are „Structural Approach“ by Taylor/Fayol und „Human-Relations-Approach“ by Mayo/Rothlisberger)
      • Bureaucracy: literally rule of the office
      • For Max Weber: „Rationalization“
        • Rationale Form
        • of legal power
      • Interpretationen to some extent controversial
      • Bureaucracy = system of related entities

Bureaucracy as defined by Max Weber

  • Bureaucracy theory (2)

      • Two fundamental priciples:
        • Rule based power
        • Hierarchy

Bureaucracy as defined by Max Weber

  • Typical elements of a Bureaucracy

      • Rigorous division of labor
      • Authority limited to clearly defined scope
      • Knowlegde & competence  appointment  functional authority
      • Hierarchy
      • Defined processes
      • Emphasize on documentation/written communication

Bureaucracy as defined by Max Weber

  • Typical elements of a Bureaucracy

      • Compensation of employees only based on position
      • Unpersonal communication
      • Separation of administrative and personal possesion
      • Rationale discipline

Bureaucracy as defined by Max Weber

  • Typical behaviour of civil servants:

      • Fullfil their duty obligations independently based on the law
      • Comply with hierarchy
      • As little communication with politicians as possible
      • Refuse to obey orders which are not inaccordance with the law
      • Dismissal only possible if there is a breach of law

Bureaucracy as defined by Max Weber

  • Input-Control (following Max Weber‘s principles)

  • Determination of INPUTS (de facto in the Budget)

  • plus

  • Compliance with typical elements of bureaucracy =

  • Optimum OUTPUT

Input- Output Control

Appraisal of Bureaucracy : Advantages

  • „Checks & Balances“

      • Rigorous structures
      • Transparency (unless structure is )
      • Limitation of power
      • Rule of law

Appraisal of Bureaucracy : Critical issues

Bureaucracy leads to inflexibility

  • Bureaucracy leads to inflexibility

      • No adaptation to external influences
      • Red tape („Dienst nach Vorschrift“) is the role model
      • Official channels
        • Slows processed down
        • filters informationen
      • No gradual cutbacks

Disadvantages of input control

  • Disadvantages of input control

      • Incremental budgeting based on earlier periods
      • Love of details
      • Little flexiblity
      • Dissipation of funds towards the end of the period
      • Not made for large service providers

Appraisal of Bureaucracy : Critical issues

  • Lack of customer orientation

      • Arrogant (but legally correct) behaviour of civil servants
      • Customer needs get neglected

Appraisal of Bureaucracy : Current situation

  • Importance nowadays

      • Where there is no NPM: still the most important organizations model
      • Where NPM was adopted: some elements persist


  • Literature


  • Abraham, M.:Vorlesung Org_Theorie,

  • www.lrz-muenchen.de/.../ws03_04/abraham_orga/vorlesung_orgtheorie_muenchen_WS02_03_folien_kap3_v20_zweis.pdf

  • Online-Verwaltungslexikon olev.de

  • Payer, M., Internationale Kommunikationskulturen, www.payer.de/kommunikationskulturen/kultur081.htm

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