Defining Public Administration: Selections from the International Encyclopedia of Public Policy and Administration

By Jay M. Shafritz | Go to book overview

12
BUREAUCRAT BASHING

Charles T. Goodsell

Virginia Polytechnic InstituteandStateUniversity

A slang term meaning unjustified attack on government employees, used primarily in the United States and often in reference to career civil servants of the federal government.

While the word "bureaucrat" has a technical meaning in the sociology of large organizations, in lay parlance it is a pejorative term referring to any long-term government employee or civil servant. The bureaucrat in this sense is regarded as personifying the allegedly negative features of "bureaucracy," that is, being lazy, rule-minded, rigid, wasteful, and eager to retain power.

The verb "to bash" has had a number of slang meanings in the English‐ speaking world over the past two centuries. In this context, it means to strike with a crushing or smashing blow or to flog. Some etymologists believe the term is echoic, that is, an example of onomatopoeia, a word whose pronunciation imitates the sound of its referent. Other historians of language think the term may be a blend of the verbs "bang" and "smash" or, alternatively, a thickening of "pash."

"Bureaucrat bashing" probably entered the American political vocabulary in the 1970s. The expression has since spread to some other English‐ speaking countries, but seems not to be as popular there as in the United States. The term, on its face, would appear to be useful to those who are disgusted with government. Yet, those most likely to use it tend to have the opposite view, that condemnation of government employees is often unjustified and should itself be condemned. To them, "bureaucrat bashing" means an undesirable or unneeded flogging of public employees.

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Defining Public Administration: Selections from the International Encyclopedia of Public Policy and Administration
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Editorial Board *
  • Title Page *
  • Contents *
  • Preface vii
  • Part One - Overviews of Public Administration *
  • 1 - Public Administration 3
  • 2 - American Administrative Tradition 17
  • 3 - Feminist Theory of Public Administration 30
  • Part Two - Policy Making *
  • 4 - Policy 39
  • 5 - Policy Leadership 43
  • 6 - Policy N Etwork 65
  • 7 - Rule 73
  • Part Three - Intergovernmental Relations *
  • 8 - Intergovernmental Relations 83
  • 9 - Mandates 102
  • 10 - Government Corporation 110
  • Part Four - Bureaucracy *
  • 11 - Bureaucracy *
  • 12 - Bureaucrat Bashing 128
  • 13 - Bureaupathology 132
  • Part Five - Organization Behavior *
  • 14 - Organizational Culture 137
  • 15 - Groupthink 147
  • 16 - Mies's Law 151
  • 17 - Parkinson's Law 154
  • 18 - Peter Principle 156
  • Part Six - Public Management *
  • 19 - Public Management 161
  • 20 - Scientific Management 169
  • 21 - Management Science 180
  • 22 - Entrepreneurial Public Administration 184
  • Part Seven - Strategic Management *
  • 23 - Leadership 191
  • 24 - Strategic Planning 208
  • 25 - Mission Statement 230
  • Part Eight - Performance Management *
  • 26 - Productivity 237
  • 27 - Reengineering 249
  • 28 - Quality Circles 271
  • 29 - Public Enterprise 279
  • Part Nine - Human Resources Management *
  • 30 - Public Personnel Administration 295
  • 31 - Mentoring 307
  • 32 - Pay-For-Performance 315
  • 33 - Workforce Diversity 322
  • 34 - Glass Ceiling 339
  • Part Ten - Financial Management *
  • 35 - Financial Administration 345
  • 36 - Congressional Budget Process 355
  • 37 - Target-Based Budgeting 367
  • Part Eleven - Auditing and Accountability *
  • 38 - Audit 375
  • 39 - Accountability 382
  • 40 - Stewardship 396
  • Part Twelve - Ethics *
  • 41 - Administrative Morality 407
  • 42 - Standards of Conduct 416
  • 43 - Regime Values 420
  • 44 - Lying with Statistics 422
  • 45 - Whistleblower 428
  • Appendix - A Complete List of the Articles in the International Encyclopedia of Public Policy and Administration 437
  • Index 447
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