The Bureaucratic Development

According to Lowi, Ginsberg, and Shepsle, a bureaucracy is a multifaceted organization that is partitioned into several elements or professionals who collaborate and work towards carrying out a specific assignment within a hierarchy of authority. It is also a prerogative term denoting “government run by desks”. The employees of these government units are referred to as bureaucrats and are picked on merit through the civil service system. Their main role is to execute public policy, create administrative laws, and utilize those laws in particular cases, this results to “quasi-judicial decisions”. Bureaucrats such as soldiers, police officers, and public school lecturers have become active players in the policy-making process by executing public policies in the public sector. In the U.S., the concept of bureaucracy has received a negative approach since people perceive it to entail stringent rules and procedures in addition to numerous costs. Nevertheless, the Executive branch is rightly placed in the role of bureaucracy since it works towards advising and assisting the president to perform complex duties which would have been implemented by several people (284).

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The bureaucratic development has changed over time. The 19th century bureaucracy was politicized and the recruitment in the Executive branch of the national government was founded on the principle of the spoils system. In the 19th century, practically every federal job was a patronage job on the basis of politics rather than merit. Under the leadership of President Andrew Jackson, patronage was the existing approach as federal workers were hired with regards to their political allegiance rather than qualifications. This was meant to ensure that political supporters were remunerated, hence maintaining future support, and taking full advantage of political compatibility with the elected person. Eligible candidates were frequently left out of the resource pool since the political affiliation they were in, was wrong and different from the current leading government (Lowi, Ginsberg, and Shepsle 284-320).

Commencing the 20th century, the United States created a professional bureaucracy with the aim of administering the public functions. New developments that were implemented included paving the streets, installing fire departments, setting up street railways, sewage disposal plants and water supplies, among others. The bureaucratic revolution of the early twentieth century professionalized middle and upper ranks and led to the emergence of a civil society. It comprised of the professional associations of doctors, lawyers and teachers from voluntary associations and universities. In the light of these, a majority of the government jobs that comprised of civil service jobs were granted on the merit system rather than the spoil system. The Federal Civil Service System was aimed to recruit qualified people with regards to merit and not political patronage, and to preserve and promote employees with regards to performance and not political favoritism. To retain a professional non-political bureaucracy, the federal workers were restricted from running for office or making political contributions such as actively campaigning for other candidates and serving on political campaigns. During this period, the employees’ jobs were secured following the amendment of the existing administration (Lowi, Ginsberg, and Shepsle 284-320).


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