PAP2320 Lecture 4

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Public Administration
Joshua Zaato

Lecture 4 (Jan 17 ): Theoretical Approaches and Historical Perspectives Sources of Org Theory  As we have already indicated, Public Bureaucracy is the primary organising principle and machinery of government o Bureaucracy is ubiquitous, meaning it exists everywhere and in all parts of our lives, private and public  Historically, Org theory originated from studies on how to improve operations, management and performance of private organizations o As a result, Org theory is often associated with schools of business management  This is because issues that concern how businesses organize themselves are also of major interest to public managers o Theories from business have been adopted and adapted into the public sectors o Others have been derived from social sciences (sociology, psychology_  So when we speak of Org theory, we mean “The need to understand what people do, how things are done, and why we have organizations Types of Org Theories There are three main types of Org theories  Classical theories  Structuralist theories  Humanist theories o We will analyze them below The classical theorists: Karl Marx  The best known theory of Karl Marx is the Communist Manifesto o It sees the policy process as a class struggle between the labourers and the owners of capital  In this class theory, Marx argues that the bureaucracy and public policies are a reflection of the interest of the capitalist class o The means the bureaucracy and public policies are made for the benefit of the few privileged class in society  He sees bureaucracy as an instrument in the hands of capitalists to be used for the purposes of maintaining the capitalist system and the interest of the bourgeoisies  With regard to public policy making and implementation in particular, Marx saw how particular policies serve the interest of capital, not ordinary citizens o For instance, the bailing out of Wall street and not main street in the recent financial crisis o Tax cuts and loopholes for the wealthy A Summary of Marxist theoretical Arguments:  A capitalist society is marked by class conflict in which the capitalist society oppresses and exploits the working class in the pursuit of profits  The State (bureaucracy) ultimately serves the entrenched interest of the capitalist class, over that of the ordinary citizens  Bureaucracy also has its own vested interests to protect. These are focused on its own survival and the career building and advancement activities of its own employees o This explains why public unions fight against cutbacks and retrenchment in the public sector The demise of bureaucracy  “The universal spirit of bureaucracy is secrecy, the mystery, which it secures internally by hierarchy, and against external groups by its character as a closed operation”  Bureaucracy is nothing more than a special interest that hides behind a more dignified picture of a faithful servant of the general will  “The desire to claw one’s way up to bureaucratic career ladder in the quest for increased power, status, and prestige is what motivates bureaucrats”  Finally, “Class struggle will result in revolution leading to a classless society in which the state (Bureaucracy) will gradually wither away” Criticisms of Marxism:  The revolution has not yet occurred while at the same time capitalism, the state and bureaucracy is getting more powerful  Also, even if it is true that bureaucracy serve onl
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