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Lecture 10

Lecture 10 - The Bureaucracy
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Department
Political Science
Course
POL2101
Professor
Luc Turgeon
Semester
Winter

Description
Feb. 12, 2014 The Bureaucracy Key Terms o Bureaucracy o Principal/agent principle o New Public Management Popular Vision of the Bureaucracy • The Ministry of Silly Walks (YouTube) • Seen as overpaid, lazy, useless, and silly Bureaucracy defined • “Rules by offices” • Aformal organization marked by a clear hierarchy of authority, the existence of written rules of procedure, staged by full-time salaried officials, and striving for the efficient attainment of organization goals • Bureaucrats are:  Public servants who execute the will of the people’s elected representatives  …but significant controversy (stay tuned) Reminder • Executive – PM & Cabinet  Develops and sets the policy agenda • Legislature (House of Commons & Senate)  Legitimates the proposals of the Executive • Bureaucracy  Advises the executive and implements the decisions of Parliament Foundation and Evolution of the Bureaucracy • Originally based on patronage  Appointments based on connections rather than abilities • Modern bureaucracy (Weber)  Legal appointment (based on performance on exams)  Clear decision-making rule  Compensation by salary not spoils  Life-long career • Associated with the “merit principle”  Introduced in Canada in 1918 o Who decides what is considered “merit” is not totally objective Bureaucracy in Canada • Include: Government departments, Crown corporations (CBC, Canada Post, and administrative tribunals • Ministers at the apex, but Deputy Minister is the more “permanent” head of the department  Role is in theory to provide advice to the Minister and manage daily operations  Helped by a number ofADMs responsible for policy development, human resources, communication • Evolution over time  1918: 5,000 employees  2012: 380,000 employees Representative Bureaucracy • Historical under-representation of women, Francophones, aboriginals, and ethnic minorities • Important reform  Bilingualism requirement  Employment equity • Representation today  Still under-representation of ethnic minorities  Aboriginals have limited representation at the upper echelons  Important variations at times Controversy I: Principal/agent relationship • Who rules whom? • In theory, bureaucrats are obliged to follow directions from the political masters as opposed to setting policy independently • Problem: Compatibility of efficiency and oversight?  Girth and complexity of government programs have grown  Information asymmetries exist between bureaucrats and officials. “Knowledge is power”  Bureaucrats have considerable prerogative in implementing policies, which can be used to subvert government direction Implications for Democracy • Max Weber: concerned that powerful bureaucracy will eventually dominate the government of modern societies and limit the applicability of the demo
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