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The Bureaucracy

  • Rod Hague
  • Martin Harrop
  • Shaun Breslin
Chapter
Part of the Comparative Government and Politics book series (CGP)

Abstract

Organising and administering modern states is a massive process that requires skill, experience and expertise. For centuries, bureaucracies have played an important role in politics, and rulers have wrestled with the problem of keeping effective control over their civil servants. However, the impact of the bureaucracy on policy-making has grown with the expansion of government. In communist party states, centralised party control over society placed great power in the hands of the bureaucrats. Civil servants also play a major role in many liberal democracies. For example, Metternich’s description of Austria in the last century as ‘not governed but administered’ still fits. Similarly, C. Johnson (1982) has argued that in Japan, although elected politicians have formal positions of power, bureaucrats are the major influence on decision-making.

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Key Reading

  1. Heady, F. (1979) Public Administration: A Comparative Perspective (New York: Marcel Dekker). A comprehensive study of comparative administration.Google Scholar
  2. Blau, P. and Meyer, M. (eds) (1987) Bureaucracy in Modern Society, 3rd edn (New York: Random House). An accessible introduction to the study of bureaucracy.Google Scholar
  3. Rowat, D. (ed.) (1988) Public Administration in Developed Democracies: A Comparative Study, (New York: Marcel Dekker). A country-by-country study tied together by comparative chapters.Google Scholar
  4. Harding, N, (ed.) (1984) The State in Socialist Society, (London: Macmillan). Contains much information on how bureaucracies were organised in communist party states.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Rod Hague, Martin Harrop and Shaun Breslin 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rod Hague
  • Martin Harrop
  • Shaun Breslin

There are no affiliations available

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