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Book Review: Bureaucracy: What Government Agencies Do And Why They Do It

1154 words - 5 pages

Book Review

Wilson, J, Q. (1989). Bureaucracy: What Government Agencies Do and Why They Do It. New York: Basic Books. pp 433.

This book about bureaucracy gained much attention in the field of public administration. Along within the field of bureaucracy this book was able to become the center of interest for general public as well. This is a valuable book. The book is very informative as it caters vast group of audience i.e. start from a general public to a professional bureaucrat. This book also give an encyclopedic information to the students of management which likely to ask the questions about the government and bureaucracy. As its review of literature is very ...view middle of the document...

According to him the organization should word according to the objectives of the agency. In his opinion the objectives of the organization and objectives of the government agencies should synchronize with each other.
The second part is about the operators (local level or street level bureaucrats). In this part Wilson has described the behavior of these street level bureaucrats. These are operators most closely examine the problems of general public. The culture of street level bureaucracy is modified according to requirements of the situation these operators are facing on daily basis.
The third part of the book deals with the issues particularly related to the managers of public agencies. In this portion Wilson discussed the constraints which the public managers are encountering and these constraints leads to deadlocks for managers and for agencies as well. For example Federal Acquisition Regulation is a document of thousand pages considered as a process of following the rules and procedures mentioned in the document. These procedures justify the decisions of public managers they take, above all when the decision taken makes somebody unhappy.
The fourth part is concentrated on the role of Executives in bureaucratic organizations. This part illustrates the reasons on the basis of which the executives of government agencies are competing with other departments. Also in this part Wilson explains that what are the strategies used by the executives for competition and cooperation.
The fifth part of the book Wilson discussed the context in which the public agencies are performing their businesses. These contexts might include Congress, Presidents and Courts.
Lastly Wilson summarizes the basic problems the bureaucracy is facing and also he has evaluated and demonstrated some alternative solutions. These alternatives were the market alternatives to bureaucracy.
Evaluation of the content:
With the help of two organizational theories Wilson developed his theoretical perspective. First theory was Chester I Barnard’s The Functions of Executives (1938) and Philip Selznick’s Leadership in Administration: A Sociological Interpretation (1957) (Rourke & Doig, 1991).
From a sociological point of view, Wilson defended the fortifications against those who are persuaded by the view point that bureaucratic behavior is rational and self-interested. Instead of this she justified this by explaining and relating different concepts of sociology, in particular organizational sociology, to counter the idea that bureaucratic behavior is any sort of simple maximizing (e.g., budget-maximizing) behavior.
In this book Wilson treated the operators, managers and executives of the public managers in this order and this order in not related. This order...

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