Bureaucrats and Policy Making: A Comparative Overview

Bureaucrats and Policy Making: A Comparative Overview

Bureaucrats and Policy Making: A Comparative Overview

Bureaucrats and Policy Making: A Comparative Overview

Excerpt

The proper role that civil servants should play and the role they, in fact, do play in the policy process has been receiving considerable attention in recent years within different national contexts. The methodological approach to the study of the relationship between administration and politics has also varied, as one would expect given the complexity of issues that need to be examined. Perhaps more important, however, is the fact that the focus of attention has shifted from the normative question of the role that civil servants ought to play to the behavioral one: What influence do civil servants exert on the political process?

The basis for seeking to go beyond the normative prescription, so clearly posited by Weber, of the appropriate relationship between civil servants and politicians is that it is at variance with the "ideal type" formulation. The view that a number of scholars, including the authors of this volume, now take is that the "ideal type" Weberian formulation ought simply to serve as a backdrop to the analysis of the relationship between administration and politics. Hence, the central questions become: What is the degree of influence that civil servants exert on the political process? How is this influence exercised? And, finally, what are the effects of bureaucratic influence on politics?

These questions impose themselves on the observer because of the . . .

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