Beurocracy Essay

13524 Words Apr 30th, 2016 55 Pages
Maybe it is time to rediscover bureaucracy?
Johan P. Olsen

Working Paper
No.10, March 2005

http://www.arena.uio.no

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Abstract
The paper questions the fashionable ideas, that bureaucratic organization is an obsolescent, undesirable and non-viable form of administration, and that there is an inevitable and irreversible paradigmatic shift towards market- or network organization. In contrast, the paper argues that contemporary democracies are involved in another round in a perennial debate and ideological struggle over what are desirable forms of administration and government, that is, a struggle over institutional identities and institutional balances.
The argument is not that bureaucratic organization is a panacea and
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Or, is the mobilization of anti-bureaucratic sentiments and the claim that it is time to say goodbye to bureaucracies and bureaucrats, just another round in a perennial debate and ideological struggle over what are desirable forms of administration and government -that is, a contest for control of the size, agenda, organization, competences, moral foundations, staffing, resources, and outcomes of the public sector? If so, how helpful is the literature on “bureaucracy” in analyzing current administrative challenges, compared to the diagnoses and prescriptions presented by reformers over the last 25 years?1

The paper acknowledges that there have been important changes in public administration and, even more so, in the way administration is portrayed. Yet, it questions the fashionable ideas, that bureaucratic organization is obsolescent, and that there has been a paradigmatic shift from (weberian) bureaucracy to market-organization or networkorganization.2

In contrast to decades of bureaucracy-bashing, the paper argues that

contemporary democracies are involved in a struggle over institutional identities and institutional balances. It also argues that for those interested in how contemporary public administration is organized, functions and changes, it is worthwhile to reconsider and rediscover bureaucracy as an administrative form, an analytical

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