The French Civil Service: Bureaucracy in Transition

The French Civil Service: Bureaucracy in Transition

The French Civil Service: Bureaucracy in Transition

The French Civil Service: Bureaucracy in Transition

Excerpt

To the effective development of a genuine science of comparative public administration objective analyses of the behavior of national administrative systems differing sharply in structure and background are an indispensable prerequisite. The present study is intended as a segmentary contribution to a series of such analyses. While the study is focused principally upon the problem of personnel management in the French public service, I have approached the task with the conviction that the legal and technical phases of the problem, particularly in an old, traditionalistic bureaucracy such as governs the French Republic, can be understood only in the light of their larger sociological and psychological setting. Public administration everywhere is administered by human administrators for human citizens and taxpayers. This fact is lost sight of in some of the otherwise excellent treatises on administration which are apparently predicated on the classic half-truth that constitutional democracies are "governments of laws, not men."

In attempting, therefore, to unravel the baffling intricacies of French public personnel practices, I have deliberately devoted as much space to questions of personality and temperament, to the ramifications of bloc politics and syndicalism in the civil service, to the influence of camaraderie à la française, and to the socio-economic foundations of government employment, as to the more formal aspects of recruitment, training, classification, compensation, promotion, transfer, tenure, and discipline. As the dominant behavior pattern in all French group life, bureaucracy but reflects in government, in bolder relief perhaps, tendencies, admirable and otherwise, which . . .

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