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Midterm Review - Chapters 1-6.docx

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Political Science
POLS 2250
Tim Mau

Midterm Review: Chapters 1-6 Chapter 1: What is PublicAdministration? As in other parts of the world, governments in Canada are being challenged to respond to such forces as rapid social change, the emergence of a global economy, startling advances in information technology, and the public’s insistence on a more open and participating decisions- making process. The work of public administration in Canada was once largely limited to public servants and their political superiors, producing a village-like setting in which roles and expectations were clear and certain and issues were handled without elaborate rules and procedures. Public Servants are expected to devise appropriate solutions to societal challenges, in part through efforts to reinvent, rethink, reshape, and revitalize government in general and the public service in particular. Importance and Meaning of PublicAdmin The range of governmental activities includes the traditional functions of administration of justice, conduct of external relations and defence of the country, as well as newer responsibilities such as health care, environmental protection and scientific research. The two major areas of government activities are the provision of services and the enforcement of regulations. Virtually every government department and agency is involved in research related to its service or regulatory function. Public administrators play a large role in formulating and implementing policies to fulfill their government’s service and regulatory responsibilities which are performed through what is known as the public bureaucracy, which is an organizational system for achieving government objectives. The Meaning of PublicAdmin Atypical one-sentence definition of public administration includes “the study and practice of the tasks associated with the conduct of the administrative state” and “the coordination of individual group efforts to carry out public policy”. The emphasis in these and most definitions is on the implementation of policy; there is insufficient recognition of the role of bureaucrats in the formulation of program and policies. The terms “public administration” and “public bureaucracy” are often used interchangeably, but they do not mean the same thing. Public admin refers to a field of practice (occupation) – work for federal or provincial government – and to a field of study (discipline) focusing on public bureaucracy. Public bureaucracy is the system of authority, people, offices and methods that government uses to achieve its objective. PublicAdmin vs. PrivateAdmin Two major characteristics of government account in large part for the differences between public and private admin. 1. The vast scope and complexity of government activities • Public administration operates less efficiently than private. Governments are not oriented toward a single goal but rather many goals simultaneously, some of which my conflict and some of which cannot be stated openly. • Politicians are also first and foremost concerned with winning public support. The public judges politicians not on how well they manage departments but by their policy initiatives and public personae. • There is a greater emphasis on accountability in the public sector. This arises from the fact that all of us are forced to contribute financially to government and thus we expect some say over its operation and or at least an indication that matters are being handled properly. Sometimes there is a greater need for accountability because recipients of services have nowhere else to go (health care, education, etc.) • The human resources management is much more complicated in the public sector as it is harder to hire or fire government employees. HR management is required to promote sensitivity and responsiveness to the needs of a certain minority group. 2. The political environment within which these activities are conducted • Public admin is service to a public, whereas the primary point of private admin is profit. Public admin results from the need for bureaucrats to assist elected politicians to respond to public demands and requirements for government services. • The public nature of public administration requires that much of it be conducted in a “fishbowl”. Many more government decisions are subjected to public scrutiny (compared to private decisions, which can remain private). The Study of PublicAdmin In the United States, the study of the field is generally acknowledged to date from 1887 with the publication of Woodrow Wilson’s essay, “The Study ofAdministration”. He stated administrative study was required for two reasons: 1. To discover what governments can properly do 2. To determine how they can do these proper things with the utmost efficiency and the least possible cost This was written more than a century ago, however it is still reasonable. Environment and Size of PublicAdmin Environment Globalization To its limit, globalization means that everything that happens happens to everyone and at the same time. For many, globalization is identified with its economic dimension, which is the movement from a world of distinct economies to a global economy characterized by worldwide markets for investment, production, distribution and consumption.A key element of globalization is that it forces governments and bureaucratic agencies to be creative in order to remain competitive in the new global marketplace. Economic globalization also puts a premium on governments’ability to act quickly, so there is pressure to make decision making in the public sector more flexible and open to new ways of organizing itself. Technological Change New computing and information processing technology facilitate better access to government services and make it simpler for citizens to communicate with their governments. Frontline workers in government are now better able to produce decisions because of easy availability of information. However, technology also produces problems. It holds great potential for invasion of privacy, and advances in health care face governments with difficult decisions. Political Culture Political culture refers to the values, beliefs, and attitudes we hold about political life, and surveys reveal that people are less confident in government. There has been a negative shift in attitudes towards governments.Amajor implication of this change is that governments must consult more widely and in a more varied fashion with interested public. People are clearly unhappy with both the level and type of traditional interactions with government. Financial Position th The last two decades of the 20 century saw difficult financial times for governments, whose expenses often exceeded their available revenue. Governments responded with a variety of actions to reduce public obligations and restore fiscal health. Demography One demographic factor with significant implications for public admin is the changing age composition. With the baby-boomers aging there is a different need for service and government administration. Another factor worthy of special mention is the greatly increased participation of women in the labour force, which has changed child care and family related programs. Finally governments need to become more sensitive to shifting preferences in a more culturally varied society. Legacy of Past Reforms Long-term forces gave support for the recent creation of new bureaucratic forms, and these came to be identified with a theory of organizational behaviour called the new public management.At the same time, the public service realized that a more complicated web of relations had replaced the simple arrangement or bargain between ministers and their bureaucratic advisors. Size In Canada, expansion in the scope and complexity of government activities since the end of WWII has been accompanied by substantial growth in public expenditure and in the number of government employees. The increase in total expenditure at all levels of Canadian government has resulted in a large number of public employees required to carry out increased government responsibilities.Awide variety of jobs are available to those who aspire to become Canadian public servants. The complex and technical nature of government operations has brought about a significant qualitative change in the public service. Issues and Themes Power of Bureaucracy There is a concern that the expertise and experience of public servants along with the sheer size of the public service put at risk democratic practices. Many bureaucrats have lots of education for their position, whereas many elected politicians have little education/experience in the position they are placed. Bureaucrats tend to have long tenures, and politicians turn over quite frequently. The Right Organizational Form Historically, bureaucracy has assumed a precise shape in which a hierarchical arrangement of superiors and subordinates carry out their duties in accordance with a precise set of rules and procedures. Bureaucracy has also at times been used to describe the various processes that tie together appointed officials with other players in the political process. This set of bureaucratic forms and processes have served Canada and other countries quite well, because they help contribute to the efficient and equitable delivery of services to the citizenry. There is a quest to find the one right organization for the task at hand. This quest extends, albeit in a less determined way, to processes involving public services and others participating in the formulation and administration of government programs and policies. The processes relate to such matters as cabinet approval of departmental proposals, financial management of public resources, and inter government collaborations in the making of public policy. Crowded World of Public Admin The activities of public servants now include numerous relations with newly prominent players in the political process. Appointed officials now must interact with the media, pressure groups and interested members of the public, and they also must be aware of the rising influence of the judiciary. End of the “Bargain” There are signs that the bargain in which public servants acting as loyal and professional advisors to elected officials is beginning to crumble. Increasingly, ministers are unwilling to protect anonymity of public servants and at times seek to place the blame on them. With a fear that appointed advisors wield too much power, elected officials have begun to seek council outside the public service. Competitive Relations An examination of public admin sometimes reveals a different dynamic at play, one which sees public servant competing with each other and with others in the political process in the pursuit of differing values and interests. With this, the policies of government often represent a compromise that inevitably arose out of the bargaining inherent in this competitive atmosphere. Chapter 2: PublicAdmin and Organization Theory: The Structural Foundation We investigate the basic structures that constitute the bureaucratic organizations in government and their interactions with other bodies in the political process. It also means taking a close look at some of the essential duties of public bureaucracies. Theories grapple with the challenge of offering clear and accurate descriptions of organizational forms. They also put forward suggestions for enhancing the performance of organizations and ensuring that services are provided more fairly and efficiently. Theories of organization offer us the framework for better explaining the behaviour or operation of various structures that may arise in public admin. Max Weber and Classical Bureaucratic Theory The first person who systematically studied the emerging phenomenon of bureaucracy was a German scholar named Max Weber, who was born in 1864. He believed there were three sources of authority: 1. Traditional authority – the right to rule or exercise authority legitimated by such factors as heredity, religious beliefs, or divine right. 2. Charismatic authority – based on the outstanding personal characteristics of an individual 3. Legal or rational authority – legitimated by rules and regulations obeyed by both rulers and ruled. Characteristics of Weberian Bureaucracy The modern bureaucratic form consisted of a number of related characteristics. When combined in the same organization, the result was what he called the pure or “ideal-type” bureaucracy. Hierarchical Structure Can also be described as the unity of command, which means for each position in the hierarchy, there is only one supervisor. The clear line of authority produced by unity of command was one reason Weber felt that bureaucracy was more efficient than previous forms of organization Specialization of Labour Division of responsibilities was significant because a person could become very efficient when able to concentrate on a specific job. Employment and Promotion Based on Merit There was an assurance of competence. Employment and promotion based on an objective test of merit provided this assurance and thus increased the efficiency of operation Full-Time Employment Employment in the bureaucracy was full-time activity and major source of income of the official. It ensured that the official would develop allegiance to the bureaucracy and that the bureaucrat’s hierarchical superior could exercise real control over the day to day activities of the official. Decision Based on Impersonal Rules If a particular benefit is to be provided without regard to race or religion, then a member of the bureaucracy would risk severe penalties if he or she allowed personal prejudice to affect the decision made. This reliance on impersonal rules increases confidence in the bureaucracy by establishing a regime of certainty in dealings. Importance of Written Files Prove that he or she has abided by the rules in making decisions, then he or she must maintain written records, first, of the rules themselves, and second, of all decisions made and the rationale for those decisions. The bureaucrat’s allegiance to the rules takes precedence over allegiance to his or her superior. Bureaucratic Employment is Separate from the Individual Bureaucrats Private Life It is always clear that the power is attached to the position rather than the individual. The bureaucrat is not permitted to obtain any personal gain, other than a fixed salary, from his or her position. Webers Views on Bureaucracy He agreed that bureaucracy was the most efficient method of organization; however he foresaw many of the problems familiar to anyone who interacts with the bureaucratic organizations. Weber understood that the technical superiority of bureaucratic official might put them in a position to overwhelm leaders of the organization. He feared that the bureaucratic vales of order and security might prevail over those which we cherish and see as essential to an open, thriving community. Criticisms of Weber Amajor line of criticism is that Weber dwelt too much on the structural aspects of bureaucracy and not enough on the human side of the organization. It is suggested that because Weber viewed bureaucrats as mere cogs in the mechanism, he overstated the impact of the organization on workers and overlooked the effect of the worker on the organization. The term “red-tape” arises from this excessive obedience to requirements and regulations as does the reluctance of bureaucracies to consider changes in their operation. Others criticise weber because of perceived internal inconsistencies in his model of bureaucracy. The model relies on professional or expert decision making to ensure efficiency, but it is possible that superiors may lack the knowledge to make the best decision. To be productive, organizations require fewer rules, less hierarchy, and employees free to innovate and meet the challenges of an increasingly complex and competitive world. Ahierarchical organization can soon produce so many levels that it becomes difficult to operate within the firm or government or to comprehend its overall structure. The emphasis on a strict division of labour increases the chances that workers will become bored with doing the same activity every day. It is also easy to require that people be hired and promoted on merit, but measuring merit can be difficult when trying to include all social differences. Full time employment also appears to ignore the cost advantages of part time or casual workers and a government agency can effectively choke on the presence of too many files. Some contend that bureaucracy and it qualities of hierarchy, specialization, and standardization represent a necessary condition for achieving sound management in government. Fredrick W. Taylor and Scientific Management F.W. Taylor, born in 1856, was a mechanical engineer who began his career working as a technician on the factory floor and spent much of his later life in either a supervisory or an advisory capacity dealing with problems of production management. His major concern was the proper arrangement of the human and mechanical resources of the factory so as to minimize waste, particularly waste of workers time. He posited two reasons for this behaviour: 1. What he regarded as the natural tendency of employees to do as little work as possible. 2. Work was sometimes arranged in such an awkward manner that no reasonable human being could physically perform what was expected by superiors. The obvious solution to the problem was to establish scientific standards based on the proven physical capacities of workers and then refrain from adjusting those standards arbitrarily. This was the beginning of the time-and-motion study that has stirred so much controversy on factory floors. The purpose of these studies was to lean the ideal method of performing a particular task from the most efficient employees. This is the “one best way” employed by Frank and Lillian Gilbreth. Taylor pointed out that workers could be more productive if management took greater care in organizing the work. He put particular emphasis on such factor as determining the optimal working rhythm necessary to maximize output. Taylor also emphasised the importance of financial factors as a motivating force. Some writers suggest that Taylor showed a lack of concern for the workers. It is clear that we view management as very enlightened and workers in a rather condescending manner. Taylor’s main contribution to organization theory was his emphasis on the scientific approach to work management and his emphasis on the important role of management in organizing the work. The Canadian Experience – From Patronage to Merit The Canadian federal government gradually began adopting some of Taylor’s ideas to speed up the move from a patronage-based public service to a merit-based one, thus simultaneously moving toward the Weberian concept of bureaucracy. The Civil Service Commission, established 1908, was the outgrowth of a number of reports indicating that the prevalence of patronage appointments in the Canadian civil service was having a detrimental impact on its efficiency. The CSC began the process of entrenching the merit principle by administering competitive examinations to applications for government positions. Gradually the powers and responsibilities of the CSC evolved, until in 1918 it was given the power to make appointments to positions and to reorganize departments. The positions had to be described in great detail because this was the starting point for the mechanistic process of matching the person possessing the proper qualifications with the appropriate position. The next step was to be a sweeping reorganization of the entire governmental bureaucratic apparatus, streamlining and reducing the number of departments and agencies. The scientific management approach to job classification made it possible to match in a mechanical fashion, the skills required in a particular job with the skills possessed by a given person. Gulick and Urwick and the Scientific Theory of Organization Span of Control Span of control refers to the number of subordinates who report to one supervisor Small spans of control may appear to tighten control for the superior-subordinate relationship, but they loosen the overall control of the organization by extending the number of levels and thereby making the top that much more removed from the bottom. To cut down on the number of levels will reduce the distance between top and bottom, but the resulting increase in the span of control at each level will lessen the control that each level can maintain. Appropriate span of control depends on the interactions of several things: • The mature of the work supervised • The level of training of the subordinates • The extent of geographical decentralization of the work • The overall stability of the organization Research shows as well that the span of control does indeed have an effect on the productivity or performance of an organization. Reducing the number of levels between the top and the bottom of the organization decreases the isolation of those at the top and ensures that they will be more in touch with the organizations environment. It also reflects the fact that contemporary workers are much better trained than previous generations and workplaces are more mechanized. Both these factors reduce the level of detailed supervision needed. Organization of Duty They argued that the process of organizational design should work simultaneously from the top down and from the bottom up. Gulick suggested that each worker could be characterized in four different ways: 1. The major purpose he or she serves, such as furnishing water, controlling crime or conducting education 2. The process he or she uses, such as engineering, medicine, carpentry, stenography, statistics, and accounting 3. The persons or things he or she deals with or serves 4. The place where he or she renders the service In designing an organization, employees who had all four things in common would be grouped together in the same organizational unit. The question of which of the four should be the dominating principle occurs in a very practical way when deciding how to arrange the legal services function in a large, multi-functional organization. It is difficult to resolve this question of the best method of organization. In general it can be said that governments are most often organized by purpose. But some governments also have departments with a special mandate to look after the unique problems of particular areas. Staff and Line Functions Job of the executive could be summed up as: POSDCORB – planning, organizing, staffing, directing, coordinating, reporting, and budgeting activities Aline function is directly involved in producing and distributing the goods or services provided by the organization Astaff function is a function that aids, advises, and supports the employees providing the line function, usually without dealing directly with the clients or output of the organization. In some cases the staff department will render advice that the line department would rather not hear or act upon. Line officials might argue that to carry out their duties appropriately, they cannot be constrained by the whims of some group that does not fully understand the operation of the organization Organizations usually try to resolve possible difficulties between line and staff officials by establishing clear lines of authority and procedures to be followed in particular cases. These procedures seldom anticipate every circumstance. Herbert Simon and the Proverbs of Admin Simon saves most of his attack for the idea of organizing but purpose, process, people or place. He points out that not only is the overall idea contradictory in one of the four must take precedence, but that the concepts themselves are fuzzy and that some of them shade into one another. The crucial point remains evident: if judgment and discretion are so important in applying these principles, can they really be called “scientific?” To accomplish this, he argues that good empirical work on the efficiency of existing organizations is needed more than additional theories. Decentralization and Deconcentration Decentralization suggests a placing of real discretionary authority in the outlying unit. Deconcentration, on the other hand, suggests a physical dispersal of members of the organization with only very limited delegation of decision-making authority. Geographic decentralization is decentralization by place, but it can also be based on any of Gulick and Urwick’s other classical methods of organization. Some employees of the federal government are located across the vast expanse of Canada in field units that vary greatly in purpose, size, and organization. This deconcentration of the federal governments operations is essential to the successful development and implementation of its policies and programs. The subsequent geographical dispersal of the public service is a government response to the challenge of providing a broad range of services to a population that is spread across a large country. Virtually all government departments now have field units, although the size of these units varies enormously. There must be a balance between accountability to rules specified in head office and responsiveness to regional needs. Officials in the field always feel pulled between the two. From the standpoint of head office, the problem is to maintain mechanisms to ensure that officials in the field are complying with head office rules and procedures without unnecessarily restricting the freedom of field officials to be responsive to local conditions. The advantages of decentralization by place include good coordination, within each region and responsiveness to regional needs. The disadvantages include possible departures from national objectives and a complex form of organization. The advantages of decentralization by purpose (process, or people) are the simpler form of organization and the uniformity of program administration across the country. Its disadvantages are a lack of coordination of the program at the regional level and a weaker responsiveness to regional needs. Chapter 3: PublicAdministration and Organization Theory: The Humanistic Response This new view took more notice of informal structures and the need for greater flexibility and autonomy in the workplace. The humanist perspective the employee constituted a complex individual who could achieve a high level of productivity with the application of the appropriate motivation. Innovative behaviour Organizational Humanism The organizational humanists focused on what actually happened on the factory floor. The informal system was categorized by the network of friendships, workplace banter and informal sanctions that occur in every work setting. Mary Parker Follett Circular response means no one unilaterally acts on someone else; rather people interact with out another in ways that influence both parties. Integration referred to the need to combine diverse elements into a useful whole. It was however, the particular genius of Follett’s contribution that she recognized and held fast to the nation that the process of change that generates conflict also provides the opportunity for the further changes necessary to resolve that conflict. She frequently emphasized the significance of executives exercising leadership rather than wielding power. Roethlisberger and Dickson and the Hawthorne Experiments This led experimenters to focus on the Hawthorne or sympathetic observer effect – the idea that workers given special attention will experience an increase in morale, which will lead to greater productivity. Chester Barnard and the Importance of Cooperation His crucial ideal was that an organization is a cooperative system held together by a good communication system and by the continuing desire of individual members to see the organization thrive. Members of the organization continue to make contributions to it, but only when they receive adequate inducements to encourage them to continue to do so. The essence of good management is maintaining a balance between these two. The inducements offered to workers could be in the form of monetary rewards, but Bernard felt that other forms of inducement such as loyalty, good working conditions, and pride in both the work and the organization were probably more efficient. He felt that workers were rather docile, uninspired creatures who depended on leadership to accomplish anything. It was the responsibility of the executive to establish good communication systems that would in turn instil the appropriate company spirit in employees. Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs The five levels in the hierarchy of needs are as follows: 1. Physiological – food, shelter, clothing, sex, and sleep 2. Safety – security, stability, freedom from fear 3. Belongingness and love – friendship, love, membership in some community 4. Esteem – achievement, competence, independence, prestige, status 5. Self-actualization – self-fulfilment, attaining ultimate goals in life Instead, management must be sensitive to the fact that workers have a variety of needs beyond the simple need for money. Some of the concepts are poorly defined. Douglas McGregor’s Theory X and Theory Y Attitudes of individual managers Theory X – depicts people
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