Table of Contents 

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Public Administration

ADMINISTRATION, as we have set the distinction in the last chapter, may be thought of as what executives do a good part of the time and administrators most of the time. Therefore, this chapter will be, for the most part, less concerned with the policies and organization of the top executives and politicians and more concerned with the large body of "less important" appointive and civil service officials. "Less important," of course, does not mean less good, nor even less important in determining the course of history, for great bureaucracies in the mass have often outweighed the political officials on the scales of historical forces. We mean merely that such officials are concerned with carrying out policies that are fairly definite, in ways that are formal and circumscribed.

Public administration is the organization and activity of an agency of government that is charged with carrying out public policy. Public administration occurs today on a large scale in every country that has a considerable technological development and its concomitant division of labor. The tasks set by the laws mount into the hundreds in modern times. They develop by a complicated process.

For example, earlier generations of Americans fought fires by forming volunteer fire companies, organized as clubs or governed by township and other local rules. The understandable policy of wanting to put out fires was implemented by nonprofessional personnel using primitive equipment. Then large-scale social changes occurred. The industrial revolution produced congested urban areas whose peoples worked in factories. A specific effect of these changes was the danger of destructive fires. The technological revolution also provided means of fighting large fires by devising better fire-fighting equipment. More complex equipment demanded professional mechanics, constant care, and large expenditures. The bigger communities provided themselves with the equipment and the personnel. A body of civil servants was created. Smaller communities pooled resources, jointly hired professional help, and ended up with arrangements far more complicated than their previous ones because they could not provide their services alone; but they, too, had entered upon the problems of public administration. When modern cities are threatened by firebomb raids in war, the central government takes over much of the responsibility and expense of fire protection and a large part of the population is assigned tasks to perform in an emergency.

A moment's consideration of the many functions of American governments will enable one to realize easily the extent of public administration in modern states. The variety of special skills that are required for the performance of all the tasks is great and increasing. We obviously can say nothing here about what it takes to be a fireman, a government light-house keeper, a forest ranger, a research chemist on plant diseases, a punchpress operator, or a platoon sergeant. Special occupations must be studied in themselves.

Nor can we begin to describe the differences among the thousands of statutes and regulations that prescribe the structure and procedures of hundreds of administrative agencies of countries such as France, Russia, England, and America. The army is not organized like the treasury or the budget bureau or the power projects or even like the navy. Each agency has its own special character just as each tree in the forest is a little different from every other tree. But still there is an applied science of forestry that is based on general biology, and there is also an applied science of administration that is based on general social science. The fact that there are great foresters who have never read a book on forestry is matched by the fact that many great administrators never studied the subject in school, and neither fact is here nor there. Only the most highly developed sciences require some special training as an absolute necessity for high accomplishments in the appropriate art of the science. Neither public administration nor political science, its more generalized parent, has that character.

The Goals of Administration


Both administrators and students of administration, in drawing from the administrative world certain principles of behavior, cannot help but observe that public administration is always conducted towards some goal-winning a war, building a bridge, delivering the mail, reducing the public debt, and so on. Such goals are the functional objectives of government administration and their number and variety depend on historical and political factors that cause the increase or decrease, the traditionalism or the novelties of state activities.

In a society like America, general agreement is possible on specific government functions and much less possible on wholesale objectives that would permanently transform the society. American politists and public can agree on a dam, a pension plan, or an annual appropriation, but on no grand over-all scheme. By contrast, the functional goals of the Soviet Union are extremely broad, and they are proclaimed at every opportunity. The private sector of the state is all but eliminated in Russia today since the governmental sector encompasses industry and agriculture as well as the "normal" functions all governments carry out. A few of the explicitly stated goals of the government are a classless society, the withering away of the state, world communism, and the transformation of the psychology of the people so that it will be posible for each to work according to his ability and receive according to his need. This last goal is supposed to produce the "new man" and this goal assumes the possibility of fundamentally remaking the whole people. Below this highest level of Soviet goals comes the level of practical functional goals, the great plans for specific production quotas in all major industries according to established time schedules. These functional goals, though often serving the same needs-such as the development of power plants, irrigation systems, and transportation systems-as the American functional goals, are deliberately co-ordinated and viewed together as a whole. In America, most functional goals, as we have already stated, are set up to fulfill specific purposes without reference to any grand plan.


Besides these functional objectives, there are instrumental objectives that come more properly within the scope of this chapter. Functional objectives of administration are the ends, the goals, the things that are to be completed. The instrumental objectives are the goals that evolve as the functional objectives are being sought. Thus, "efficiency" is an instrumental objective to most people. They want an agency to be efficient in order to achieve the functional objective of the agency as quickly and inexpensively as possible.

We can distinguish five such instrumental goals that pervade the whole of administrative activity. What political science can say about the general nature of man's search for these objectives forms the core of the science of administration. Three instrumental objectives are stipulated; two are intrusive. That is to say that three are often openly espoused as instrumental goals by most people, including the lawmakers, while two are commonly observed to exist, but are less commonly and overtly supported.


The three stipulated, instrumental goals of administration are:

1. Maximum productivity and maximum utilization of the available human and material resources in ways reputed by experts to be most effective and most sparing.

2. A minimum of material and psychological disturbance of the population that is affected by the activities inherent in the functional goal and induced by the instrumental goal.

3. A maximum of consultation with the population that is affected by the activities inherent in the functional goal and induced by the instrumental goal.


The two intrusive goals are:

1. A maximum of personal and party advancement.

2. Operating procedures attuned to the personal habits and qualities of the official class.

A discussion of the meaning, implications, and effects of these five goals will carry out the design of this chapter.

Productivity and Utilization of Resources


The general form of public administration has been strongly influenced by the very important objective of achieving tasks with a most efficient utilization of the means available. In outlining the general position of the executive in society, we pointed out that the hierarchical pyramid, beaded by a single executive chief, was the most nearly universal form of organizing men to carry out functional tasks. The single executive is well adapted to overseeing (POSDCORB) a few subordinates, who in turn oversee their chief subordinates, who in turn oversee their subordinates and so on until ultimately the whole of a vast organization may be knitted together and focused on the specialized and co-ordinated parts of a much larger task. This succession of "spans of control," whereby one man controls thousands, gives us the hierarchical pyramid.


Within the hierarchical pyramid specialization occurs. Each man in the vast hierarchy does not perform the same tasks. Rather the total job, say of operating a fleet of ships, is broken down into a number of special jobs, the administrators of which are concerned with only their narrow range of tasks and who are vital links in a giant network of communications and performance. Although it may be most difficult to impart to the personnel charged with the most minute tasks a sense of their importance, it is nevertheless true that the total accomplishment does depend upon them.

Sometimes the results of extreme specialization in the administrative agencies produce strange situations that occasion outside criticism. Thus, for many years, every tiny postal money order was sent for audit to the Comptroller General of the United States until literally mountains of orders covered acres of warehouse space, all waiting for an audit that might have been made by the local post offices. From other agencies of government came additional acres of fiscal records, until the auditing agency was overwhelmed by this extreme result of the principle of special responsibility.


To the hierarchical pyramid and the minute specialization of tasks may be added the feature of long tenure of office, which is also characteristic of great bureaucracies. Tenure of office provides opportunity for mastering the required skills and the necessary teamwork of a large organization. When to these qualities one adds the great framework of precise paper procedures that is found in largescale governmental agencies of all kinds, one has the essence of bureaucracy's response to the stipulated instrumental goal of productivity. This general picture, according to Max Weber, who has so well described it, is the most efficient of all known ways of organizing human energies for large tasks. If we compare the factory system with the domestic work system, the disciplined army with the armed horde, or the development of the huge Tennessee Valley Authority with the unco-ordinated development of other river valleys it would seem that, for great endeavors of a technological kind, the bureaucratic form of organization moves irresistibly, though perhaps slowly, towards its objectives.


In the United States, the total job of government-the carrying of the mails, the running of the army and navy, the regulation of the railroads, the manufacture of atomic materials, the arbitration of labor disputes, the construction of highways-is usually assigned to agencies according to function. The fragments of the total task are usually called departments, but may be called independent regulatory establishments, government corporations, mixed authorities of private and governmental groups, or something else. The most important fragments on the national level are organized into departments and their chiefs are given cabinet rank. Each level of government has its own major fragments. Thus the national Department of Agriculture is paralleled on the state level by the State Department of Agriculture. The county will have a health unit, the city will have a police department.

Each major department has under it a number of operating units which, since they each have separate tasks to perform, also become separately organized. The police department has its detective bureau, identification bureau, traffic bureau, and so forth. The Department of Interior has its Bureau of Mines and other subagencies.

The bureaus break down into even smaller operating units performing minor specialized functions. Thus the Bureau of Internal Revenue of the Treasury Department breaks down into the Accounts and Collections Unit, the Income Tax Unit, the Miscellaneous Tax Unit and the Alcohol Tax Unit.

Finally beneath the units come the individual positions. And all organizational patterns build on top of the individual positions, just as the army builds up to the general from the private. This completes the most simple presentation of the administrative structure or hierarchy: It ascends from the position to the department. Few departments have exactly the same internal organization.


The departments that perform major functional operations or groups of functional operations are called line departments. The line departments are dedicated to carrying out the functional goals of administration. They collect money, preserve the peace, fight fires, conserve the forests, operate industries, and the like. In addition, because there are some functions common to all operations - whether the object is to collect taxes, build roads, or maintain the police - special agencies have grown up whose principal tasks are to carry on work that is common to a number of agencies and can be more efficiently and cheaply conducted if concentrated in one agency. Such agencies are called auxiliary, housekeeping, or service agencies. Examples would be central purchasing offices, central personnel agencies, central disbursing offices, and so forth. They usually are independent of the major departments and work directly under officers appointed by the chief executive. Auxiliary or housekeeping agencies are in principle occupied exclusively with instrumental objectives, when those objectives are best accomplished by co-ordination on a wide scale among the line offices of an agency. The other principal type of agency is the staff agency. A staff is an organ that advises the executive but does not have operating responsibilities. The staff is the eyes and ears and brain of the executive. The executive depends on his staff in making his decisions, because he cannot personally inform himself on all the details of vast enterprises. The division commander in the army may give all the major commands, but he is advised constantly by his personnel, intelligence, operations, and supply staff officers (G1, G2, G3, G4). The functions of a civil staff are to study administrative problems, to plan future actions, to observe and report, and to advise the executive, but not to act itself. An example of an important staff agency of the national government is the Bureau of the Budget. Through its financial surveys and planning, it can furnish a wide variety of information to the President, make suggestions, study the efficiency of administration, check deficits, and foresee probable future problems. Since the staff group occupies itself with extending the intelligence and control of the executive, it may be concerned both with functional goals and with instrumental goals.

Usually only large organizations can justify specialized staffs. The army and other agencies of the national government certainly can, as can some of the larger corporations. After a fashion, even very small units of government and business have staffs, whether formal or not. In some cases, individuals are simply called into conference to give their specialized opinion on particular problems.


The leaders of the Soviet Union, probably more than any ruling group on earth, have made efficiency a fetish. They have experimented with various methods of organizing and controlling their vast enterprises efficiently. They have rejected humanitarianism and consultation with the affected population. They have converted these motives in administration into remote goals which, they say, will some day characterize their administration. The Soviet leaders have bitterly rejected the intrusive motives of personal advancement and the customs of offices. At the same time, by identifying the cause of the Communist Party with the very heart of the state, they have been able to avoid viewing the advancement of the party as an intrusive goal. Inefficiency - a practice that is very difficult to define-was made a crime in the Soviet Union.

The organization of the Russian administrative establishment shows that there are few remarkable innovations today. Once, the leaders experimented with plural executives as the top managers of schools, stores, and factories. In 1934, the use of plural-headed executives was abandoned for single chief executives, in the interest of efficiency. Furthermore, at one time Soviet agencies were divided internally into separately organized and autonomous units. These units were what we should call auxiliary; finance, personnel, raw materials, planning, and other functions within the same agency were administered by individuals who were accountable to higher authorities outside the agency. Samuel N. Harper cites a Soviet leader's judgment that this type of organization meant "one authority when a hand was to lift food to the mouth, another when it was to write a report and still another when it had to hit somebody in the face, and thus for all hands everywhere." In 1934, this novel kind of structure, the origins of which go back to the theories of F. W. Taylor, was abandoned. Today Russian enterprises are organized along the pattern of the integrated agency, whose chief is responsible for all its functions and operations.

Finally, the Russians have installed central efficiency control machinery corresponding to American staff agencies. A Ministry of State Control and the Party Control Commission are two organizations to promote efficiency. In addition, each individual ministry has its own inspection system. Lastly there is "control by the ruble." This device is carried out through the banks and the Central Planning Organization and consists of inspecting the work of enterprises to determine whether an enterprise is making its "planned" profits, that is, the margin of income over costs expected of it according to its planning directives.


One of the methods used in large agencies to assist in efficient selection and assignment of employees is job classification, in which the thousands of positions in a large organization are grouped according to the kinds of duties that their occupants are expected to perform and the level of responsibility required of their occupants. The qualifications that its occupants are supposed to possess, and the rate of pay that the job is supposed to require are, consequently, closely related to the classification the job possesses. Nearly 10,000 job classifications may be found among the two million positions in the federal civil service. The grand purpose of classifying the levels and branches of the hierarchical pyramid is to minimize for the controlling executive the confusion and difficulties of managing, transferring, paying, and promoting large numbers of employees.

Legislators, too, have found that classification is required if they are to maintain control and supervision over the administration. The classification system "rationalizes" the whole public employment system by relating one job to any other job. This facilitates control by the legislature as well as by executives. Although legislators could work their will more freely on individuals in the absence of a classification system, they would practically lose control over the administration as a whole. They would, furthermore, be so preoccupied with small matters as to neglect important problems. Consequently, the legislators found a classification system absolutely necessary as the number of public employees increased.

While a classification system introduces stability into administration and reduces confusion, it also produces inevitable inflexibilities. Classes of positions are set up and described in the classification scheme. Individual positions are then placed in a class ,that best describes their function and level of responsibility. Over the long run, this is done without reference to the particular people who will fill them. A position exists before it has an incumbent.

When there is an incumbent, he either has the qualifications and does the work required or else he does less or more than is required. If he is doing more than is required, the classification becomes less meaningful; one cannot look at the description of the position and tell what its occupant is doing. The formal way provided by all civil service systems for solving this common problem is to redescribe the position and reclassify it. The incumbent is then assigned the changed classification in order that he be given all the prerequisites and responsibilities of the actual work he is doing.

Reclassification of positions is a major task of classification officers. They try constantly, often on the request of line officers, to fit the actual work going on in a position to an appropriate class in the classification scheme. Thus change is adjusted to the central and durable scheme. The greater the lag between the change and the adjustment, the less meaningful and useful the classification scheme and system. Even in the best of classification systems, there will often be considerable variation in the way the incumbent of one position in a class operates and the way the person in another position of the same class functions. In other words a position in an excellent classification system is typical of its class, but the incumbent may not be typical of the incumbents of the position and hence not typical of the incumbents of the class of positions.

A classification system must, if it is to mean anything, be essentially stable, yet not so stable as to preclude necessary adjustments for the sake of efficiency and morale. However, continuous wholesale change in positions would lead to confusion as the grades and responsibilities of office-holders kept fluctuating.


This key problem of stability versus change in the classification system of the bureaucracy, together with several other conditions that are often present owing to factors that we shall presently discuss, leads to a situation that is most important in the study of administration. This situation is the presence of informal organization alongside the formal organization in administrative groups. Formal organization is the stipulated organization of lines of authority, and of responsibility, and of work in an office. Informal organization is the deviation from this stipulated organization. How formal and informal organization often do not coincide well may be seen in Figure 5.

For example, let us suppose that a certain girl occupies a position as secretary to a unit chief, and, in that capacity, is expected to type many letters, answer all phone calls, record all appointments and messages, and keep a set of files on the unit. That is her stipulated work budget. In fact she types many letters, but composes many of them herself; the chief likes to answer the phone himself very often; she speaks to many people and prevents them from speaking to the chief. Because of the importance of these tasks, she has managed to have the filing job delegated to a man who is filling the position of a field worker, but who, since the chief likes to be outdoors, is not in the field as much as the classification required.

This is a mild and common case, involving a contradiction between the expected and the actual performance of tasks in the office. The informal organization involves some deviation from the formal picture. Assuming that the work coming out of such an office was good or bad, an outside student could not then generalize that the formal organization of offices of such a type was good or bad, without getting a picture of the informal organization in each of the several offices. That is, he could not take the stipulated organization of lines of authority, responsibility, and work as the real conditions that are producing good or bad results. He might well profit from the skepticism often observed among old hands in an office with reference to the organization chart. The chart is often the dusty relic of outmoded procedures and of dead or promoted officials.


A contrast between the formal prescription and the real condition is also found in matters of discipline and internal controls. Depending on its degree of crystallization, the bureaucracy will have a painstaking code for disciplining infractions of the moral and technical rules of administration. The penalties will begin typically with provisions for an official reprimand that goes on the personnel record, and extend to the loss of seniority, in somewhat more serious cases. As the offense becomes greater, the penalty increases; temporary suspension, demotion, discharge, and judicial prosecution are the most rigorous punishments.

The formal penalties just listed are more often surrounded with safeguards for the disciplined employee in government business than in private business. This is owing partly to the influence of politicians and employee organizations and partly to the less "nervous" and "willful" milieu in which bureaucracy operates. By contrast, private business managers need not fear political reprisals in disciplining employees (though unions sometimes cause difficulty). Moreover, businesses often operate in an unstable market situation and respond to outside losses with drastic and immediate reactions against their personnel.



In studying the organization structure, the official organization chart is obtained. Sociometric ratings based on with whom most time is spent in getting work done are superimposed over the formal organization chart. In all samples, there are noticeable deviations between the formal organization and the informal organization as revealed by the sociometric ratings. An index of deviation to show in statistical terms the amount of deviation is in process of development.

* Carroll L. Shartle, "Leadership and Executive Performance," Personnel (1949), reprinted and copyrighted, 1949, by the American Management Association. Reproduced with the permission of the American Management Association.

In this figure, the formal organization chart is shown in solid lines with the pattern of interpersonal relationships in checked lines. The checked lines show the first two choices; that is, the two persons within the group with whom most time is spent. The arrow points in the direction of the person named. Thus, number 51 named number 1 and number 511, and number 1 named number 2 and number 51. One can see what are sometimes called "violations" of the organization chart. The studies of various staffs suggest that "violations" are a normal activity. The informal or interpersonal work structure represents day-to-day relationships. Staffs are usually fairly familiar with the organization chart, but little has been done to acquaint staff members with an understanding of the "interpersonal chart."

The informal structure is one index of the dynamics of getting work done, and it appears that for efficiency it will necessarily deviate from the formal structure. Extreme deviations, however, may hamper rather than promote efficiency.

Soviet administrators seem to be more subject to outside sanctions than are the administrators in Western countries. Sanctions in Russian offices and factories are harsh. Criminal law in the Soviet Union has been extended to new areas by the creation of "economic crimes." The law aims to protect socialist property, to prevent and punish the negligence or willful misconduct of the managers of state enterprises, and to deter workers from tardiness and absenteeism. The sanctions against officials and administrators willfully or negligently breaching planning discipline are new "crimes of officials" and "crimes against the administrative order." These crimes are considered crimes against the whole community and are severely punished.


But just as force is rarely needed to keep peace and order in the society as a whole, in the working organization the formal penalties are imposed only rarely, usually after the failure of other controls. The right to fire, like the right of the state to imprison, is infrequently exercised because informal social pressures manage most people almost all the time. Controls exist that are almost unconscious-the office esprit de corps, the enthusiasm of the group for its job, the joy of work (as Henri de Man wrote of it), and the hiring only of personnel that can be expected to fit into the work group. The negative aspects of these phenomena of group life include, many times, effective punishments--ostracism by the group, loss of friendships, loss of respect.

Discipline may be maintained by the leader through a soft word or a stern one, by tightening up supervision, by making an offender's work life less pleasant by small actions such as scheduling his vacation at an inconvenient or unsatisfactory time. It may be hinted that a resignation would be a good thing for all parties, though the resignation be without dishonor; or when the budget of the agency is cut, the least desirable members may be let out, with honor, to be sure, but, informally speaking, a disciplinary measure has been taken.

Therefore, the study of discipline and internal controls, like the study of work being done, has an informal as well as a formal side. And, as with the classification process, it is unlikely that any formal system of penalties can so regulate the behavior of personnel that an informal system will not grow up alongside it. In both cases, the formal system cannot be dispensed with and the informal system is inevitable.

The formal prescriptions of organizations encompass the external directives and the best available description of the manner of utilizing resources for their accomplishment. The informal organization bespeaks the conflict of external with internal forces, and the injection of unforeseen work processes into the foreseen routines.

Effects on the Administered Population


Pursuit of the first stipulated goal-high productivity and maximum utilization of resources-is conditioned by the second stipulated goal of administration. It is generally agreed, even where such agreement does not find expression in the language of statutes, that the means of administration ought to be such as to minimize the material and psychological disturbances of a new policy on the people who are affected by it.

Almost every administrative policy must interfere to some extent with the habits and attitudes of some people. This is so even when the policy being carried out is one that provides universally desired services or that gives benefits to millions of people. For example, the post office delivers mail and performs other services for millions of people every day. Also, the system of social security in the United States provides a means by which millions of people save money for their old age. But, in the pursuit of these functional objectives of delivering the mail and providing for the old, the administrators must to some extent order, discipline, encourage, punish, and otherwise affect a multitude of human actions. In performing these functions administrators are often as much concerned with selecting methods that will minimize the unpleasant effects on people of having their lives reordered as they are with methods that will increase the efficiency of their operation. For example, the Veterans Administration sends each month to those who hold National Service Life Insurance policies a self-addressed envelope stating the amount due and the name of the policyholder. This practice induces more policyholders to pay premiums promptly and standardizes the handling of a large volume of mail returns. The V. A. might instead have adopted the view that premiums that are not paid promptly will cause the policy to be defaulted and leave to the policyholders the responsibility for remembering always to pay premiums promptly.


The formal science of administration teaches human engineering according to a standard of efficiency but it does not teach, in any formal way, human engineering according to a principle of minimum distress. The principle is assumed in the sense that "no one wants to hurt anyone else if he can help it." Unfortunately, this easy-going way of treating a perennial problem of administration does not provide us with a method of describing systematically the operations of the minimum distress motive. Therefore, we must use indirect means to examine the expression of this motive in administration.

Following Dr. Leonard D. White's analysis, we will list the forms of action that administrators often have within their power in the various nations of the world. In the case of each form of action, it may be perceived that lesser or greater pressure may be brought to bear, lesser or greater sanctions inflicted upon people, depending not only upon the desire for efficient execution of the task at hand but also upon the desire to cause as little damage as may be possible to the interests involved. Furthermore, the decision to use one form of action rather than another in any certain case is a judgment based not only on efficiency but on humaneness.

We should remember, in examining this list, that administrators rarely have free choice of these various forms of action, and that the legislature and the political executive determine the general conditions under which they may be employed.

1. Declarations of public policy: perhaps the "softest" form of action to obtain disciplined conduct among the population concerned. The promulgator of a policy merely states that it is best for the country if a particular line of conduct is avoided or observed. Thus, the American government declared during the Italo-Ethiopian War of 1936 that it was the policy of the government not to ship munitions and arms to the warring nations. Breaches of the policy by exporters, however, were not punishable. Policy declarations are also a common practice among executives taking office for the first time; they state what the policies of their offices will be, even though the laws they administer are unchanged and their statements are mere appeals for co-operation with governmental policy.

2. Declaration of legal obligation without sanctions for disobedience. Such would be a declaration of legal holidays, without penalties against those who insisted upon working on holidays. Again, some early factory legislation declared that the working day would be 10 hours, but no authority was charged with enforcing such a law.

3. The establishment of voluntary commercial standards. Faced with a plethora of practices in a trade or market, the administration determines that it would be more convenient, more efficient, and fairer if all firms and individuals involved would use the same language, weights, and categories in describing their products. The National Bureau of Standards of the United States is active in promulgating such standards. Cotton, grain, and other agricultural products have been graded according to general standards by departments of agriculture. While no physical coercion is used to enforce these standards, the standards enforce themselves, so to speak, because it is easier for an individual or firm to do business with people who have accepted the standards than with those who have avoided the standards. Furthermore, if standards are falsified, the offending party may be punished and sued for damages.

4. The government sometimes uses its own purchasing power to induce compliance with certain high standards of accomplishing work. If individuals and firms wish to sell to the government, they must follow government-established standards. Thus, the Walsh-Healy Act of 1936 denied contracts to any firm that did not maintain certain work and pay standards among its employees. Naturally, many firms adopted the standards rather than lose their contracts.

5. Educational campaigns directed at the general public or affected portions thereof. Often a sum of money spent on informing the public will produce greater compliance with a policy than an equal sum spent in prosecuting a few offenders under punitive clauses in the law. Examples of educational actions known to many are the savings bond sales drives, the dissemination of information on rights under the Social Security laws, and the exposure of grave social conditions (for example, soil erosion) in order to obtain co-operation for the administration of a soil erosion law. One might also cite the act of Congress ordering that all administrative rules and orders be published in the Federal Register in order to take effect. This was done in part because Congressmen felt that greater conformity to the law could be obtained if businessmen had surer ways of knowing what the law was, and in part as a means of reducing the insecurities of affected individuals.

6. Conferences among individuals and firms of an industry to discuss and settle points relating to trade practices are devices sometimes used by agencies like the Federal Trade Commission. This is a way of obtaining standardization through the group itself as opposed to obtaining standardization by the unilateral action of the agency. The trade conference, it ought to be noted, can develop very easily into a device for restricting competition in an industry, hiking prices to the public, and fighting off new inventions that would require great change but would also lower costs and prices to the public.

7. Mediation and conciliation. Most national and state governments have agencies for conciliating opposing parties in a labor dispute and mediating the dispute in accordance with public policy, if the parties are so minded. Here it is attempted to expedite the settlement of disputes damaging to the public without directing the course of events outright.

8. The purchase of consent. Where private rights are involved, and strong pressures arbitrate against the use of law backed by physical coercion, administrative agencies may be authorized to buy up private rights in order to go ahead with a government policy. Thus the national government has bought many thousands of acres of eroded land from its owners in order to plant trees and prevent further erosion or floods. The Agricultural Adjustment Administration, in pursuing a policy of controlling excess agricultural production, is authorized to purchase the individual farmer's abstinence from production rather than to forbid production under the threat of prosecution. Powerful farmers' pressure groups had much to do with this mild administrative form of action. Payments for damages inflicted by government officers in pursuance of their legitimate activities, and payments for land or buildings taken over by government agencies, are other forms of the purchase of consent. In .these cases, however, unlike the preceding ones, the action is mandatory, and the money is used to mollify the individuals who have been disturbed economically or materially.

9. Publicity. The use of public opinion rather than force to back up recommendations based on the findings of conditions detrimental to public policy is often very effective in certain areas of the economy. The exposure, through government - sponsored publicity, of "unhealthy" conditions of work, of "shady" practices in business, of inferior and maladvertised products can induce conformity to standards. A variant of this form of action is the socalled "yardstick" enterprise whereby the government performs some operation as it "should" be performed, in order that the public, viewing the difference between government enterprise and private enterprise, may be incited to demand new standards of private enterprise. An argument often advanced for ameliorating the working conditions of government employment is that the government should be a "model employer."

10. Individual inspection, aid, and advice. Possessed often of highly qualified experts in certain areas, the government may offer its services freely or even compel the use of this consultation. Private firms will sometimes use government advisors on public contracts, even where such advice need not be taken. They do this in order to avoid later damaging reactions to the way in which the work was performed. The advice of government tax experts is sometimes asked when a firm sets up an accounting system so that there will be less likelihood later on of having expensive investigations and a reworking of the records regarding the payment of income, surplus profits, unemployment, or social security taxes.

11. Licensing. The ancient administrative action of licensing allows persons to engage in certain activities otherwise prohibited by law, provided they demonstrate their ability to perform these activities to the satisfaction of the licensing law and of the administrators of the law. Licenses may be so unimportant as dog licenses or so important as radio broadcasting licenses. To have a dog without a license and to broadcast without a license are equally prohibited. Administrative inspectors discover both the absence of licenses and the violation of conditions under which the licenses were granted.

The care and formality with which licenses are granted and revoked depends to a large extent on the kind of property rights and human rights affected. The suspension of a license to sell milk upon the discovery of unsanitary conditions in the bottling plant is not likely to be accompanied by the same mountain of litigation as is the suspension of the broadcasting privileges of a metropolitan radio station because of alleged failure to keep "indecent" programs off the air.

12. The order of individual applicability. Where legislation of a general nature and administrative rules of general applicability cannot conveniently or justly cover the type of action desired, agencies may be authorized to promulgate special orders affecting individuals or single firms. For example, the Hepburn Act of 1906 gave the Interstate Commerce Commission the legal right to fix the freight rates of an individual railroad carrier at a "just and reasonable" level. The National Labor Relations Board similarly may order a company or a union to "cease and desist" from an action that the law declares generally to be an unfair practice. The agency, after a process that is sometimes simple and sometimes very complex, declares what shall be the behavior of the regulated private party in a particular respect. Various national agencies - the Federal Trade Commission, the Securities Exchange Commission, and the Federal Communications Commission, among others-and many state agencies have authority to issue orders that apply to individuals.

13. Orders of general applicability. This form of action is closest of all to legislation and is often called quasi-legislation. The chief difference between orders of general applicability and legislation is that the general order depends on a grant of authority from the principal law-making organ, and the grant of authority is almost always accompanied by conditions regarding the manner of its exercise that the legislature itself is not bound to follow in making general legislation. This power of agencies to issue general orders has grown greatly in recent times and its spread is one of the best indices of the advent of administrative authority. Over a thousand statutes give rule-making powers to over a hundred national agencies. The state governments are far behind in this development, but state agencies, also, are making rules in increasing number.

The process by which most orders of general applicability are drafted, discussed, and promulgated is almost as complicated as the legislative process itself. To be sure, the administrative rule-making process is more sharply focused on its special sphere of interest (railroads, for example), while the legislature, when it talks about railroads, talks and thinks about everything else on the agenda of the legislature and on the minds of politicians. This is a crucial difference: legislation is everything political taken together; a vote on one issue is commonly a number of votes wrapped up together and taking cognizance of many matters "irrelevant" to the issue.

On the other hand, stringent controls have been put on rule-making because legislators have been reluctant to concede to anyone else the right to make anything resembling law. The consequence, remarkably enough, is that administrative agencies go through a regimen of investigating facts, weighing merits and demerits, hearing viewpoints, and drafting orders that is hardly to be seen in any but the most exceptional legislatures when they pass the most carefully considered bills.

14. Finally, administrative adjudication should be mentioned. Administrative adjudication is the settlement of a dispute between private parties or a private party and the government on the basis of law and fact by an administrative agency. Just as orders of general applicability give to administrative agencies the character of legislatures, the rendering of judgments in legal contests gives them the character of courts. The cases falling within the quasi-judicial competence of administrative tribunals come out of controversial behavior concerning agency orders of individual and general applicability. Some fifty federal agencies have quasi-judicial powers. Like the legislatures, the regular courts are jealous of their authority and responsibilities. The courts, consequently, take cases out of the hands of administrative tribunals whenever it seems that there has been an error of law or procedure, an important error in fact, a lack of jurisdiction, or an abuse of political discretion in the agency's conduct of a particular quasi-judicial proceeding against a private party.

These, then, are the fourteen principal forms of action that the administration can take against private deviants. Often the forms are hedged in by the legislatures and the courts. Often two or more forms of action may be used in the case of a single party: that is, he may be cajoled, pressured by members of his profession, publicly attacked by the administration, inspected, warned, subjected to a special order, made subject to a general order against the practice in question, or prosecuted in the tribunal of the agency. Often the same law allows the use of a combination of forms of action in inducing or forcing conformity with established public policy. Several of .the forms of action are designed specifically to reduce the hardships inflicted by public policy. Such would be inspection warnings, adequate notice, hearings, mediation, and education.


As we have just seen, a surprising amount of the expenditures and time-budgets of many agencies go towards satisfying the general goal of administration of minimizing the material and psychological effects of the policy it must execute and the means it must take to execute it. It is strange that textbooks have been written and studies designed as if the only factor in explaining administration were the "productivity" factor. In reality we can find much evidence of legal and moral restraints in an administrator's conduct towards affected individuals.

The following hypotheses suggest themselves from experience and deserve testing. Perhaps if we had more studies exploring such hypotheses, we might know a good deal more about the motives found in administrative behavior.

a. Administrative agencies may be graded according to the amount of money and time of the total budget that are devoted to the juridical, material, and psychological defense of the affected populations.

1. In certain cases, the "defense budget" exceeds the "offense budget." That is, the total costs of "going easy" on the people affected and of providing a rule of law exceeds the costs of carrying out the law.

b. Agencies affecting persons outside their own organizations may be graded according to their degree of intimacy with the affected population.

1. In certain cases, agencies are the "mouthpieces" rather than the "oppressors" of the affected populations. For example, the Federal Trade Commission was at one time completely sympathetic with the desires of the industries it was supposed to regulate (1925-35). At other times (1914-25, 1935- ), it has been expansive and desirous of more "police action."

2. There is no positive relationship between the severity of discipline exercised on the affected population and the fact that the agency is classified as a "mouthpiece" or "oppressor" type. (That is, "mouthpiece" agencies are often goaded into more severe forms of action by the regulated and affected parties themselves.) What occurs is akin to the behavior of "student courts" that are often sterner disciplinarians than are the teachers themselves.


The goal of minimizing discomfort or distress among the affected population, despite varying intensities of effort in that direction, is often not achieved. Implicit in the preceding discussion is the fact that the desire for efficiency or productivity may interfere frequently with the desire for "soft" administration. The paramount objective of administration is to accomplish the goals of the agency (the functional goals that give a directive to the agency) with a maximum of efficiency. There must be some limit to the second goal of gentleness if the goal of efficiency is to mean anything. The legends of public administration contain many versions of a common plot: the private citizen who is deep in personal troubles is told by the impassive and ruthless bureaucrat that he must fulfill some obligation ("Rules must be obeyed, you know!"] and is left to languish in broken health amidst the ruins of his fortune. It would be nice if political science might present some strict formula for the determination of the point of exact confluence of efficiency and humanity, but of course it cannot. There is a whole world of decisions wavering on the extreme edge of either quality, susceptible to intelligent approach only after careful individual studies.

On the other hand, efficiency is universally tempered by humanitarian resistances. Never does efficiency alone rule the road to a functional goal. In most cases, it is easy to see how a pure motive of efficiency is subjected to attrition by other motives. If the threat of capital punishment were to be imposed on tax evaders (not an uncommon punishment in the annals of history), tax collecting would probably be easier and the budget of the revenuecollecting agencies of government somewhat reduced. But only a few people would regard such increased efficiency as worth the human cost; human life is not to be sold so cheaply, in Western societies at any rate.

The fact is that the actual behavior of most administrative bodies, like the actual internal discipline of the agency, lags behind formal prescription of penalties. Rather than setting the formal machinery of administrative authority into action to prevent or punish an offense, the agency usually essays informal methods of relieving the undesirable situation. It down-grades, so to speak, the appropriate penalty for a particular action. Culprits are allowed to repent on the promise of good behavior, following discussions and informal pressures.

Not only American society but most other societies regard the zealous insistence upon the letter of the regulation as "persecution," so habitual is the down-grading of penalties in relation to sanctions. Such a conclusion is often borne out in fact when notoriously unlawful characters are punished by being forced to conform to the exact provisions of the law. It is common knowledge in the United States that administrative and judicial authorities use the penalties for misconduct in declaring and paying income taxes to their full extent in punishing men widely believed to be guilty of other offenses for which they cannot be so easily called to account.


Sometimes in order to minimize the effects of a policy on the population, administrators use to induce conformity methods that cause psychological distress. These methods seem to be chosen because of the common belief that psychological discomforts cause less pain than material discomforts. Therefore, rather than use methods employing material sanctions and subjecting the nonconformers to material discomfort, administrators often prefer to induce the total population concerned with a given policy to conform to it out of fear or anxiety. Thus, if a wide educational net is flipped over the entire population, telling them that their futures are insecure and that they had better invest in government bonds, the buyers of bonds who are found are considered to have been induced more easily than if they had been compelled directly to invest money in government bonds. Or, to use another example, if a few infected persons in the population are uncovered by reducing the total population to anxiety over venereal diseases, the result is considered superior to a systematic singling out of vulnerable individuals. Again, a U. S. News and World Report's "Newsgram" reported on November 3, 1950: "Builders, often, are going to get hurt. Cutbacks, uncertainties, stop orders intentionally are somewhat obscure. Idea is to induce people to put off as much construction as possible out of fear of what might happen."

Administrators often seem to regard the minds of the population as if they were like the waters of the oceans or like the vast atmosphere, capable of being used by everybody, for all things, over and over again. This attitude, we hasten to say, does not characterize administrators alone; it represents a whole culture that has discovered how minds can be influenced but has little conception of what indirect effects such mental influence may have on the minds of the people and on the culture as a whole.

This exploitation of psychological principles to minimize the disturbance of the population by administrators seems to be used even more in the Soviet Union than in Western countries. Exasperated citizens are given a psychological lift by seeing some bureau criticized even though it may be receiving unfair criticism. For example, a newspaper takes housing administrators to task for not providing sufficient new dwellings when in fact the scarcity of housing is due to a shortage of materials. Soviet administrators frequently claim that they use irate letters to the editors of newspapers as the basis for taking action on various matters. Wall newspapers in factories also serve to soften the blow of rigid or unpopular administration by presenting people with a limited opportunity to criticize the administration. Besides the severe physical sanctions at their command, Soviet administrators are adept at so-called "socialist engineering," that is, educating the masses to accept new measures by newspapers, radio, schools, mass meetings, and even by the courts. The Party propaganda apparatus is to a large extent directed toward making Marxists of the people and toward keeping them abreast of current developments.


We are now ready to ask: What can science do to determine the conditions of material and psychological distress? Can distress, like efficiency, be measured, and accommodated? Can the administrator use the results of scientific study of these matters? Yes, he can: the process of correct thinking about political matters characterizes correct thinking among administrators as well as scientists and laymen; the methods for investigating the sources of popular customs and beliefs and the configuration of public opinion on various issues is within his sphere of competence. Scientific materials on special interests and sources of group conflict can be converted to the study of the effects of administrative policies. The study, then, of political behavior is highly relevant to administration, and is to be taken, along with public law, economics, and technical (mechanical) efficiency, as the prerequisites of astute administration.

Of course, every administrator has his own hunches and ways of knowing about the effects of policies. He has close friends who give him their opinions, he hears from legislators and reads letters of complaint about the practices of his agency. He reads the newspapers, and he projects his own feelings into the minds of the population he is dealing with. Often these methods work satisfactorily, especially since there are few people around to show him better methods. But there is little reason for doubting that, in general, administrative agencies today are as backward in applying scientific methods to the determination of the effects of administrative actions as legislators are in using such methods in their work.


The sample survey, based on extensive and intensive interviewing, is perhaps the best developed tool that exists for examining the impact of policies on the public. Yet few agencies employ surveys systematically. Rensis Likert, Director of the Institute for Social Research, suggests a number of questions pertinent to scientific administration that survey methods may answer in good part. He believes that top executives, given very general delegations of power by legislatures, can obtain by surveys answers to these questions: What understanding does the public have of the problem concerning which a policy must be set? How does this understanding vary in various parts of the public? What degree of support can alternative policies and programs expect to obtain?

And once the general policy is set, continues Dr. Likert, surveys can continue to answer important questions: How effectively is the program working in the judgment of the public generally? What support does it have? What segments of the population feel that the program is working well? What segments feel that it is working poorly? Why? How well informed are people about the program and its objectives? What groups are uninformed or misinformed? How can they most readily be informed? If the program involves participation on the part of people generally, what kinds of people are participating? What segments of the public are refusing to participate? Why?

We should note that survey methods can answer questions as to the external efficiency of some administrative programs and also can answer questions as to the external, material, and psychological effects of a program. They furnish contributions to both these primary goals of administration. In addition, the survey can be used to realize a third stipulated goal of administration, that of consultation with the affected population.

Consultation with Administered Populations


Consultation is a word that needs definition. If it meant only finding out what people think, then, obviously, it would not deserve separate presentation as a goal of administration. We would have included it in our discussion of the second goal. Consultation is often confused with discovering the reactions of people to the unilateral actions of administrators.

In that case, the administered population is like the defendant in court when the judge asks: "Does the accused wish to say anything to the court before sentence is pronounced?"

But consultation can be defined and is defined here as using the affected population as co-administrators. Consultation, as here employed, means the determination of administrative actions by collaboration between the affected population and the agency. Historically, this condition often existed in American local government when the voters elected all officers at short intervals of time. The use of the subjects of administration as co-operators is, however, a new theoretical motive in modern legislation and large-scale administration. It has been found to exist (by accident) in some agencies that have grown very close to the groups they are authorized to regulate and in some agencies that have been co-governed by those groups. Examples can be found in the Federal Trade Commission under Commissioner Humphrey, the county agent system of the Department of Agriculture at times, and the Interstate Commerce Commission (which was accused by motor carriers some time ago of being dominated by the rail carrier viewpoint). But, as the last section of Chapter 7 of Volume I revealed, this administrative lobbying represents something of a tendency in this generation, and, given certain modifications introduced by legislatures and agencies, some form of interest representation can be expected to develop. This would not be an open conquest of the agency, but on the other hand, neither would it be a unilateral form of administering the affairs of industries and groups. Interest representation, therefore, is one form of consultation.

Other forms of consultation are the surveys, provided they are made with an active intent to carry out the viewpoints of the people interrogated; a complete provision for contesting the actions of administrative agencies by allowing public hearings of contemplated actions; and the conduct of elections on specific administrative policies among the groups affected by the policies. This last form of consultation was attempted for two years under the National Industrial Recovery Administration in the United States, and is still being used by the National Labor Relations Board to ascertain union sentiment in a shop and by the Department of Agriculture to determine whether crop controls should be applied to certain crops in oversupply.


Needless to say, the objective of consultation is likely in most cases to conflict immediately and sharply with the objectives of the productivity of the agency and the efficient utilization of agency resources. Consultation takes time and money. It is contrary to the tradition of administration and violates the hierarchical pyramid. Administrators at present are neither inclined nor trained to regard others as competent to judge the requirements of "good" administration. Even a legislature is often not friendly to the practice of consultation in administrative activities because such consultation implies that legislators' policies have to be checked and aided by specialists. Like some general practitioners of medicine who dislike specialists, many legislators prefer to believe that general wisdom is sufficient to solve technical problems of the body politic.

The Soviet ruling group, despite a conscious commitment to consult with the masses, has made little real headway in that respect. What one does hear about are artificial stimulations of mass response, hardly different from "socialist engineering." The irresistible efficiency obsession has crippled any real motive for consultation that may have remained from the humanitarian and egalitarian heritage left by Marx and Engels. The chief method by which the Soviets claim to consult the people is "democratic centralism." This phenomenon was defined succinctly by Lenin as "freedom in discussion-unity in action," or, in other words, a combination of democracy (mass participation) and centralism (leadership). Democratic centralism is accomplished by the application of the elective principle, a limited amount of discussion, periodical accountability of lower to higher organs, strict subordination of the minority to the majority, and the binding character of decisions of higher bodies upon lower bodies.

Mass participation in administration and in determining the rules to be administered was originally a favored principle of the Soviets. There was mass participation, for instance, in the case of the 1936 Constitution. An estimated 500,000 meetings were held, with an aggregate attendance of 36,000,000 people, to discuss the draft of the Constitution. Some changes may actually have been adopted in the final draft as a result of these meetings. Since 1936, however, there have been no examples of mass participation in legislation.

Mass participation in administration has declined from the early days of worker control of industry but still is present to a limited extent in some production conferences in industry. Also, in industry, workers are encouraged to volunteer for special administrative work in connection with the official tasks of the local soviets or workers' councils and labor unions. And it has been estimated that some eight per cent of all rural voters perform volunteer tasks in connection with farm and village administration. In the administration of the agricultural sector of the economy the farmers still participate through the meetings of the kolkhoz (collective farm) membership that makes decisions regarding crops to be planted, the allocation of labor to different tasks, and other matters. These decisions, however, must be within the limits of the general plan as laid down from above and in practice are frequently taken out of the hands of the membership by the chairman of the kolkhoz.

The sovicts or councils were developed, according to Soviet writers, as barometers to check variations in public sentiment and reactions to changing programs and events. Originally the soviets had some slight influence on governmental acts but in recent times they have been assembled, at least on the higher levels of the hierarchy, merely to put the stamp of approval on the administration. The Communist Party is the greatest limitation on the soviets as exponents of popular demands. Since the collectivization of agriculture was completed in the 1930's there has been no evidence of opposition by the soviets to top-level policy. From time to time the local soviets are "activated" or stimulated from the top to criticize the administration of policy but not the policies themselves. Administrative officers undergo some embarrassing questioning and heckling from the deputies, and this procedure helps to relieve popular discontent.

Personal Careers and Partisanship


While the three goals of administration, hitherto discussed, are displayed eagerly before the public eye and applauded generously by the large body of people, even when they are not wholly understood, two additional general objectives of administration seem to be unpopular. They are intrusive; they are inevitably present, as we shall see, but they are not the occasions for general enthusiasm. Well-received or not, the motives of personal and party advancement, and the motives of inbred habit are as much a part of administration as the motives of efficiency and humanitarianism.


We will discuss first the subject of personal advancement in the public service. It is obvious that a public servant has private desires. He wants to get a good job, keep it, support a family, and advance himself in responsibility, prestige, and salary. Some administrators have additional or different motives. They may want, whatever they may say, routine, and more routine. They may desire, whatever their rationalizations, nothing more than the right to inflict hardships on the administered population. They may be guided by an inner compulsion to forever process business that efficiency would dictate should be dispatched. In a satirical vein, describing such inefficiency in a fictitious government agency, Charles Dickens once wrote: "If another Gunpowder Plot had been discovered half an hour before the lighting of the match, nobody would have been justified in saving the Parliament until there had been half a score of boards, half a bushel of minutes, several sacks of official memoranda, and a familyvault full of ungrammatical correspondence, on the part of the Circumlocution Office."

Furthermore, the ordinary private motives of public servants are sometimes present in great intensity and outweigh or exclude motives which are more related to the work. The desire for a good job is unrelated to the desire to do a good job; the desire to keep a job has nothing to do with taking responsibility. Also, a man may become so entranced by his prestige or so enraged by his lack of prestige that nothing else about the job matters; and, although it may seem surprising in view of the fact that public servants are paid relatively little in many lands, even such comparatively low salaries may afford witless and aimless people their only enthusiasm.


Now, of course, neither the ordinary personal motives of public servants nor the abnormal motives of a few control the organization and functions of public agencies. These motives are constantly tamed and directed towards the stipulated instrumental goals of efficiency, consideration, and consultation.

The taming and directing principles are selective recruitment, merit examinations, merit promotions, and pay scales adjusted to skills. The result of the application of such principles is a career service. A career service was defined by the Commission of Inquiry on Public Service Personnel (1935) in the following words: "Steps shall be taken to make public employment a worth-while life work, with entrance to the service open and attractive to young men and women of capacity and character, and with opportunity of advancement through service and growth to posts of distinction and honor." Notice that the ordinary personal motives are generally included here, but certain vague value-words are employed to indicate that a good deal of taming and direction will occur during the process: "worth-while," "attractive," "capacity," "character," "service," "growth." Each word implies that the whole process will be governed by values external to the values of the personal advancement of the individual, even though the individual is promised a pleasant career.

Since there is no universal agreement on the precise meaning of these value-words, the whole process of recruitment, examination, pay, advancement, and secure achievement is affected by the several conflicting motives of efficiency, humanitarianism, reactions from the affected populations, partisanship, and the clique tendencies of the people already in the agencies. We can illustrate this statement by sketching the formal personnel process in administration, and giving at the same time illustrations of the interference of the external motives mentioned.

1. Recruitment is the process of advertising among all conceivably interested and broadly qualified persons and allowing them to apply for civil service posts. The American post offices in cities and villages carry bulletins of forthcoming opportunities for public employment, giving directions about how to apply and qualify for such posts. At this point, even the most open system of recruitment.. begins to narrow in response to the efficiency motive: the completely uneducated are ruled out of many applications; applicants for many positions must have specified experience and education; in some cases, only holders of advanced degrees or persons of great experience are allowed to take examinations.

In America, the insistent pressure of the administered population, evidenced in the form of slogans like "Government business is everyone's business" or "Everyone has a right to government jobs," checks the extent to which the interested applicants are reduced in number in the name of efficiency. In other countries, pre-World War II Germany, for example, the original applicants must already be possessed of scarce qualities of experience and education; a drastic reduction in eligibles occurs in the name of efficiency.

Although the efficiency principle is the implacable foe of the party principle, having the "right" political views can sometimes help one who applies for a job with the government. Thus, in many American civil service systems, a note from a politician or verbal "clearance" is required in the very first stage of the personnel process in order to have one's application seriously considered. Where the jobs in question are not under a civil service system, political "pull" is often quite open in its effects. Census enumerators of the United States, for example, must obtain political clearance in most localities before they can be seriously considered or examined for their meagerly-paid jobs.

The incumbent bureaucracy has a hand in determining who shall be considered as an applicant for posts in the service.

The prolonged debate between those who believe general education is the best qualification for government employment and those who believe special vocational skills should be sought is in part a contest between "cultured" officials and "practical" officials: each wants more of his own kind in his office.

2. Examination of the eligible applicants is conducted in several ways. They may be assembled at one place and required to undergo intelligence testing, characterological testing, general aptitude testing, or special skill testing, and often a combination of these. Or the applicants may take an unassembled examination; the applicant submits personal records of his background, educational qualifications, employment record, and sometimes samples of his past work. An oral interview by the representatives of the hiring agency often completes both types of examinations, but owing to the expensive nature of oral testing, only the most likely candidates for a position are usually chosen for this stage of examination.

The examining stage of the personnel process shapes the future character of an agency to some extent, and there is a continual controversy over the kind of examination employed. Both the hiring agency and the central personnel office, if there is one, attempt to make up the examination in harmony with their own ideas. They often disagree on what will indicate future efficiency in the offices, what type of interrogations will reveal the character of the candidate, what type of character is most desirable, and how much reliance should be placed on the oral interview.

Written examinations have the merit that they may be made part of the public or government record, so that any interested person may try to discover what motives intruded into the examination from political, official, or other sources. The oral examination, although no doubt it allows some insight into fitness for a position-through the observance of appearance, address, quickness of mind, behavior in tense interpersonal situations-is peculiarly susceptible to the intrusion of personal, political, and cliquish judgments.

3. Pay scales require only brief mention here. The great bulk of administrators in most countries are paid salaries of a modest, lower middle-class and middle-income level. Since salary levels in civil services are relatively inflexible, the individual administrator is economically best situated when the cost of living is constant or declining and most poorly situated when an inflation is occurring. It is frequently believed that his level of pay greatly influences the behavior of the bureaucrat, but this is not entirely true. Pay has been constantly exaggerated as a determinant of morale and prestige, as a number of studies have shown in the past two decades. While it is true that a laborer's income or a millionaire's income would distort the class position of the bureaucracy, such incomes are rare in civil service systems. And in the great belt of income levels between the rich and the poor, the pay level has little to do with the efficiency, morale, or prestige of employees.

4. Security and promotion are much more important than salary in determining the general atmosphere of public employment. To the extent that public employment is secure, the public service tends almost to become a class by itself. For, in a secure public service many conditions of employment remain stable over a long period of time and tend to produce a similar stability in standards of behavior and attitudes toward life. This situation contrasts with the relatively free condition of private employment, where a wide variety of chances to change one's social character present themselves. The opportunities for acquiring a crystallized character-type are more present in government: over a generation, the employee can look out the same window on life. Furthermore, with security, work activity adjusts to a regular pace. A routine is established that becomes venerable, sometimes sacred. Those who expect to be promoted think to do something new, but newness is not highly valued. Better to try doing the old things well. And, those who have been in an office a long time are often best at doing the old tasks without complaint. So the seniority principle, seeded, it is true, by the nature of the pater familias and the accumulated wisdom of aging, bursts into flower in the formal hothouse of the office. While the principle of merit, espoused by the fanatics of efficiency, restrains the principle of political preference, the principle of seniority calmly prevails in the administrative kingdom.

Now it would be ridiculous to evaluate public administration by a lofty standard while praising private administration according to a modest one. Many private companies promote by seniority or by nepotism; they also promote by mistake. In private business, nepotism is often the stipulated motive for building an enterprise "so that my son shall have something to carry on." Nepotism sometimes occurs in the civil service, but it is intrusive. John Adams once wrote, scandalized, about Thomas Hutchinson's many relatives on the payroll of the government of Massachusetts. The federal government, and many city and state governments in America evidence nepotism. But the opportunities for material advancement in America are so many as to make nepotism a relatively minor problem.


In addition to promoting employees by seniority and nepotism, both private and public business often promote by mistake. We mean the belief that a "merit promotion" is being made does not guarantee the fact. Utilizing the best known techniques and the best available judgment in the selection of leaders is not sufficient to take the element of risk from promotions; it can be said without fear of denial that, with the efficiency idea in mind, seniority, nepotism, and party affiliation are not adequate criteria for promoting. From this point, we wander into a wilderness of criteria that are sometimes valid, sometimes dangerous, for deciding on the qualities that earn a man his promotion.

Research on criteria for promotion is presently being conducted in several quarters. Carroll Shartle, William Henry, Rensis Likert, Angus Campbell, Dorwin Cartwright, and a number of government and private groups are among those studying the methods of selecting leaders. The conscientious promoting official has available today much more in the way of objective evidence on past and potential performance to guide his promotional decisions than he could find a generation ago. Furthermore, there seems to be some tendency in a number of government agencies to utilize such guiding materials.

Still, no student should retain the illusion that promotion is a simple matter of advancing the man who is putting out the greatest tangible product (if ever there is a tangible product); or that popularity indicates managerial skill; or that the man with whom a chief can work well while the man holds one position can continue to work well with the chief in a higher position, or take the chief's place when the chief is retired, transferred, or promoted.


Political parties in modern states, and political factions in other periods of history, often bring their own special interests to bear on the selection of public officials and the control of the administrative process. Two main subtypes of motives underlie the general desire to convert the administration to the will of the party. One is the feeling that, if politics is to rule administration (an assumption of some important democratic theorists), then the party leaders must have ways of carrying out their will. This means that they must be able to appoint the chief executive-administrators. An American President does not take office and set out alone to order changes in the administration. If he did, he would be swamped by the task of ordering hundreds of men to do thousands of things. He must have the power to appoint his partisans to the chief administrative posts. The limit to the number of appointments can be found empirically: it is that number of appointments that can maximize his control. It may be ten in a highly integrated, centralized administrative system with a habit of discipline. It may be hundreds in an unintegrated, decentralized administration. The most efficient number is the number that satisfies the case; then the chief executive can infuse his own policies throughout the hierarchical pyramid.

A second sub-motive of partisanship in administration is to seize a large number of positions and to convert them to political warfare. This is the well-known Jacksonian idea. It is sometimes rationalized by the first sub-motive; that is, men who want to take over civil service posts for the pequisites of the posts and in order to finance and man the party machine justify their position by saying that even the lowliest of civil service employees is an "executive," in our sense of the term, that is, political. But there is no point in wasting time on this argument; it would be pathological to see in every clerkship a saboteur of the Presidency, as pathological as to demand the confiscation of all rock and sand because some uranium can be found almost anywhere.


The use of appointments for political warfare, however, still demands respectful attention, even though it is generally disliked. Political machines must be supported; support comes from money, workers, communications media, and can and has come from government employees. Before one makes the drastic recommendation, in the name of efficiency, that partisanship be eliminated in selecting administrative personnel, he must ask himself this question: Are the remaining sources of party organization strength, that will be enhanced in importance by such elimination, superior in their effects on the political party system? One can readily see that much more than efficiency is at stake here; the various administrative posts are involved in the whole party system. Might the European parties have created more stable governments if they had been based on patronage rather than class? Would the American parties, especially the Democratic, come to be more influenced by the labor unions, if patronage were abandoned? There is evidence to the affirmative on both questions. But the all-important answer-how much difference does this factor cause-is not known.

In America, following most western European countries, the tendency has been to eliminate the political participation of the vast majority of administrators. The merit systems of the federal government and of various state and local governments have made deep inroads into the patronage system. In an attempt to reconcile efficiency with partisanship, some men have proposed two shifts of administrators, both appointed under a merit system, both partisan, each taking office when its party is in power, the other retired, temporarily, on partial pay. This would take care of the top posts but could not be applied to hundreds of thousands of less important posts. For that problem, some have hesitantly suggested an external solution: to support the political parties outright from public funds. Then they presumably would not be too dependent either on patronage or on special organized groups.

The Customs of Administrative Offices


As we have just seen, the first intrusive goal of governmental administration is personal and party advancement. The second intrusive goal is the pursuit of customary administration for its own sake.

One might visit the offices of an agency and see how the agency is organized to accomplish its tasks, how it is concerned about the popular response to its regulatory activities, how it consults with its administered population, how its officials are plotting their careers, and yet not sense the organization fully until he had learned something of its special habits, its folklore, its group "personality."

Of course, all organizations differ in function. But what we wish to point out here is that they possess a motive that may be called their own. They exist for their own sake as well as being vehicles for expressing the other motives that have been discussed. A large-scale organization very often has a "will" to survive and grow, and may have its own distinctive habits of work.


A certain amount of organizational energy is devoted to competing with other agencies for funds and respect. If an agency is to survive amidst the welter of agencies found on all levels of modern governments, the agency's leaders have to campaign continuously for laws giving it sharper powers and more money. The agency cannot remain isolated; it must establish friendly connections among the politists who are related to it-the top executives, the legislature, the press, public opinion, the people it affects in its daily work (its clientele), and the pressure groups that make demands of it.

When cordially regarded by a preponderance of influential persons and groups, the agency can regard its survival as assured. The agency whose functions are subject to bitter dispute faces the possibility of sudden or slow death; and the agency whose actions arouse no controversy may, without the "right" kind of friends, be the first to be sacrificed when the cry for economies is raised.

Many agency executives are empire-builders. Just as politicians strive for mastery of the political party and for control of legislation, agency chiefs measure their own success by the number of new functions they are enabled to undertake, the number of personnel they are allowed to hire, the amount of funds allocated to them each year, and the amount of respect and personal regard that they elicit from politicians and other public officials. Most agencies are difficult to extinguish. Like old soldiers, they never die; they simply fade away. And when the end comes, there are always a few survivors, capable still of sounding the call to arms and proclaiming the benightedness of their enemies.


Americans do not have in their minds so sharp a picture of the "bureaucratic personality" as do Europeans. To most Americans, officials seem like caricatures of the efficiency expert or the spoils politician. They imagine an efficient office where all human and material resources are combined ruthlessly towards getting a job done. Or they picture city halls where everyone, from the janitor to the mayor, smokes cigars, uses spittoons, is corpulent, and votes the same ticket. If they are more experienced than most they can remember offices they have seen like the War Production Board that, as one wag put it, looked like the central clearing house of the forty giant corporations. Or they may have heard hair-raising tales of emergency agencies like the Office of War Information where untold energies were spent in empire-building and personal interest maneuvers.

One would have to go to countries like France and Germany for a sharp sense of the bureaucratic personality whose traits come from the intrinsic character of traditional office work. There they meet Monsieur le Bureau, who does not look quite human, or the uniformed Prussian official, who is a social class unto himself and wishes always to make that point quite clear.

It seems that a stable agency, over a long period of time, and especially when buttressed by a social class system, acquires speech, methods of work, and an outlook on the outside world that distinguish it from other political associations. In America, the language of civil servants is called "gobbledygook" by critics; a large number of words, especially concepts, acquire special meanings to insiders; many abbreviations and modes of expression, liberally interspersed with numerals, find their way into the customary documentation and reports of activities, until even legal language seems more intelligible than administrative language.

Work takes on an orderly pace, not to be disturbed by crises of any kind, and reports and carbon copies of reports abound. Every step must be according to regulations; under the looming shadow of the pyramid, one cannot simply step sidewise but must first go up and then come down before one is permitted to step sidewise. There is a strong sense of superordination and subordination; the image of authority is everywhere on the premises. The outside world appears to be anarchic; work coming in from the outside world is regarded as an intrusion, probably unwarranted. Karl Mannheim describes this tendency of stable bureaucracy well:

Every bureaucracy, therefore, in accord with the peculiar emphasis on its own position, tends to generalize its own experience and to overlook the fact that the realm of administration and of smoothly functioning order represents only a part of the total political reality. Bureaucratic thought does not deny the possibility of the science of politics, but regards it as identical with the science of administration. Thus irrational factors are overlooked, and when these nevertheless force themselves to the fore, they are treated as "routine matters of state." [1]


American experience, unlike the German experience that so impressed Karl Mannheim, has been barren of rigid bureaucracies. American administrative agencies have been too much in flux, too newly organized, too overcast with politics to acquire all the garments of the bureaucratic personality.

Certain American agencies, however, like the Department of State, do exhibit some rigidity. They seem to have wills of their own; they cannot understand political forces; they are peculiarly immune to "efficiency" reorganizations and recruit men of a common stamp. Since the Department of State is a rara avis among American agencies, many Americans erroneously explain the evidences of bureaucratic personality in the agency as a willful conspiracy, a degenerate conservatism, or some other political vice; they do not understand that most of these features, described more accurately, are typical of a matured bureaucracy.

In the Soviet Union there is more consciousness of problems of bureaucratic ingrowth than there is in America. The Soviet Union is far advanced towards being an administrative state in which all political problems are treated as administrative problems. Problems only now coming to be of interest to Americans are considered worthy of the intervention of the highest Russian leaders. Stalin himself commented acidly on the situation in which "instead of a leading group of responsible workers, a family group, a closed circle is formed, the members of which try to live on peaceful terms, not to offend each other, not to wash their dirty linen in public, to eulogize each other, and from time to time to send inane and nauseating reports to the center about their successes."


The process by which an organization builds its bureaucratic personality is a circular one-a vicious circle, some would say. The persons who organize an agency usually volunteer to do so: therefore they are likely to have some affinity for the work of the agency. The functional affinity of the organizers for their work will be reinforced by their actual work in establishing the agency and assuring its continuous operation. When called upon to recruit new workers in the agency, they will tend to solicit types somewhat like their own, with the same training and the same interests.

The recruits will, of course, imitate the modal conduct of their superiors and will develop new operations along the lines of traditional patterns. The main characteristics of bureaucratic work - the legalism, careful documentation, slow and sure movement, conscientiousness, fear of politics, and sacro egoismo-will develop gradually as work habits affect character, character affects values, values affect recruitment, and recruitment re-enters the circle to reinforce the process anew.

It would be most unscientific to apply this generalized inwardgrowing motive of agencies as the only criterion for describing public administration, but that it exists, in embryonic or matured form, as one of the major classes of motives determining the character of public administration cannot be denied.

This chapter has sought to outline the various forces operating on public administration, and to show how these forces combine and influence each other. As with all the previous subjects in this work, and with the courts and other general subjects to come, the phenomena of general public administration cannot be rigidly classified as only administrative in character. Our mental categories hold them momentarily, until we have used them; then they run off to combine again under some other meaning, becoming events of concern to court systems, local governments, and other subjects.

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