Characteristics Of The Federal Bureaucracy

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The federal bureaucracy as part of the executive branch exercises substantial independence in implementing governmental policies and programs. Most workers in the federal bureaucracy are civil-service employees who are organized under a merit system. The merit system is defined as the process of promoting and hiring government employees based on their ability to perform a job, rather than on their political connections. This system uses educational and occupational qualifications, testing, and job performance as criteria for electing, hiring and promoting civil servants. Beginning in the federal government in 1888, it was established to improve parts of the governmental work force that had previously been staffed by the political patronage…show more content…
The bureaucracy is a major base of power that can be difficult to control. Max Weber believed that bureaucracies shared certain characteristics: chain of command, division of labor, and impersonality. The chain of command is a form of organization characterized by a hierarchical structure of authority. In a military context, for example, the chain of command is the line of authority and responsibility along which orders are passed within a military unit and between different units. The division of labor is when work is divided among specialized workers in order to improve productivity. Impersonality are when persons are treated on “merit” principles; all “clients” served are treated equally, according to rules, and records are maintained. The complexity of public policy problems also contributes to bureaucratic independence. A few factors are specialized units, delegated authority and discretionary authority. Specialized units are often assigned responsibility to create or oversee policy that deals with their specialized area(s). Delegated authority complicates public policy problems because Congress and the president cannot handle all issues. Instead they delegate authority to the bureaucracy. Discretionary authority causes public policy problems because legislation lacks detail causing the bureaucracy…show more content…
Because interest groups are protected by the First Amendment, they cannot be outlawed. However, their activities--particularly lobbying and making financial contributions--can be regulated. The 1973 Lobby Regulation Act, amended in 1983, is much more effective than two earlier attempts at regulating interest groups, one in 1907 and the other in 1957. In spite of its more stringent provisions, the total number of persons lobbying is much higher than the fifteen hundred groups and persons who annually register. The rise of bureaucracy requires interest groups to influence key points in government. As government does more for its citizens, more of their citizens become affected by government. Growing frustration with political parties, they believe the extremes are too liberal and conservative. The newest and most effective ways of effecting the government is by joining a third party or interest
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