Bureaucracy and the Policy Process
POLS 330 – Fall 2004
In order to adequately evaluate the American political environment one must take on, as political scientists, the challenge of understanding bureaucracy. In this course, we will examine a number of questions surrounding public bureaucracies, including: What is the origin of the American bureaucratic system? How has it progressed and evolved into its current form? Why are bureaucrats reviled in some instances and revered in others? How can or should unelected government officials be made more accountable to their elected counterparts and to the citizens they serve? Is it accurate, or even fair, to carve out public bureaucracy as the “fourth branch of government?”
In addressing these and many other questions, we will rely heavily on the study of real-life cases in several areas of public policy, including homeland security, education, the environment, law enforcement, and social welfare.
II. Contact and Meeting Information
Office: Zulauf 424
Phone: 753-7051 (office)
Office Hours: MWF 10:00 to 11:00am, or by appointment
MWF 11:00 to 11:50am, DU459
III. Required Course Materials
The following textbooks are required for this course:
This section provides an
outline of the assignments/exams required for this course and the weight
(i.e., percentage of your grade) each exercise will carry.
Midterm Exam 20%
Cumulative Final Exam 35%
Presentation and Memo 15%
Research Paper 20%
The following grading scale will be utilized:
90 – 100% A
80 – 89% B
70 – 79% C
60 – 69% D
Below 60% F
V. Presentation and Memo Assignment
As mentioned in the introduction, this course will rely heavily upon the use of case studies. These studies revolve around topical examples drawn from the world of bureaucratic politics and performance. We will discuss significant and/or illustrative events in the history of American governance, such as impossible or implausible jobs, success stories, and ignominies.
First, working together in groups, you will provide the class with a 15 – 20 minute presentation covering one of the case studies. In brief, your job as a group will be to provide the class with a succinct summary of each article or chapter in the case study, an analysis of the problem(s) and question(s) being presented, the relationship that these problems and questions have to other course materials (i.e., required readings and core theories), and the steps necessary to resolve these problems and questions. When preparing your presentation, you are encouraged to utilize the various technologies at your disposal, such as Power Point or handouts. Ultimately, it is up to each group to decide the best way in which to present their case study material. There is, however, one exception: each group member must actively engage in the development, presentation, and discussion processes.
After the presentation, the group will open the floor up to the rest of the class. The presenting students will be expected to moderate this discussion by answering any questions concerning the case study materials and/or theories presented. Please bear in mind that the readings contained in the case studies and the information presented in class is considered testable. Therefore, during these discussions all students will be expected to demonstrate 1) successful mastery of the facts and 2) the ability to draw broader lessons from the case study materials. In addition, it is during these in-class discussions that a significant portion of the class participation grade will be awarded.
In addition to the presentation, each group member is required to draft a memo analyzing the relationship between the real-life example and theory. Be sure to discuss the following points: Which theory or theories does the real-life example support and why? Which theory or theories does the real-life example reject and why? Does the administrative behavior being discussed lend itself favorably to our conventional understanding of public bureaucracy and why or why not?
When addressing the abovementioned points be sure to provide a brief summary of each theory you chose to discuss. However, please note that the bulk of your memo should be comprised of your own analysis, rather than a summation of theories.
Your memo should conform to the following guidelines:
VI. Research Paper
The primary writing assignment for this course is an 8 – 10 page formal research paper (be sure to follow the standard paper format provided below). I must approve your topic in advance; however, you may essentially write on any topic related to bureaucracy and an area of public policy that you so choose. A paragraph in which you clearly state the proposed topic for your term paper is due on September 24. The final paper is due on November 22. In general, late papers will not be accepted. Please note: You are not to do your term paper on the same topic as your presentation/memo.
Your research paper should conform to the following guidelines:
VII. Undergraduate Writing Awards
The Department of Political Science will recognize, on an annual basis, outstanding undergraduate papers written in conjunction with 300 - 400 level political science courses or directed studies. Authors do not have to be political science majors or have a particular class standing. Winners are expected to attend the Department’s spring graduation ceremony where they will receive a certificate and $50.00. Papers, which can be submitted by students or faculty, must be supplied in triplicate to a department secretary by February 28. All copies should have two cover pages – one with the student’s name and one without the student’s name. Only papers written in the previous calendar year can be considered for the award. However, papers completed in the current spring semester are eligible for the following year’s competition even if the student has graduated.
IIX. Academic Integrity
Honesty is the essence of the intellectual life of the university. Students, who copy the work of another on an examination, an assignment, a paper, are guilty of cheating. The misrepresentation of another's work as your own, copying material from books, magazines, or other resources without acknowledgement and identification of those sources is plagiarism. If a student is guilty of either cheating or plagiarism, or of assisting other students in cheating or plagiarism on an assignment, paper, quiz, or examination, the student may receive a grade of F for the course and may be suspended or dismissed from the university. Please consult the University’s website if you have further questions concerning this policy.
IX. Statement Concerning Students with Disabilities
Under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, NIU is committed to making reasonable accommodations for persons with documented disabilities. Those students with disabilities that may have some impact on their coursework and for which they may require accommodations should notify the Center for Access-Ability Resources (CAAR) on the fourth floor of the Health Services Building. CAAR will assist students in making appropriate accommodations with course instructors. It is important that CAAR and instructors be informed of any disability-related needs during the first two weeks of the semester.
X. Department of Political Science Website
Undergraduates are strongly encouraged to consult the Department of Political Science website on a regular basis. This up-to-date, central source of information will assist students in contacting faculty and staff, reviewing course requirements and syllabi, exploring graduate study, researching career options, tracking department events, and accessing important details related to undergraduate programs and activities. To reach the site, go to http://polisci.niu.ed.
XI. Weekly Class Schedule
Week 1: Rise of the American Administrative State
Monday, August 23
Wednesday, August 25
The American Administrative State
Read: Rosenbloom, chapter 2 and ‘skim over’ chapter 3
Friday, August 27
The American Administrative State, cont.
Week 2: Politics-Administration Dichotomy, Part I
Monday, August 30
The American Administrative State, cont.
Overview of the Blackboard Course Server and case study sign-up
Wednesday, September 1
Public Administration Theory: A primer
Read: Wilson, W. (1887), “The Study of
Administration” pgs. 197-222 [on-line] and
Goodnow, F. (1900), “Politics and Administration: A Study of government” pgs. 1-22 [packet]
Friday, September 3
Public Administration Theory: A primer, cont.
Read: Svara, J. (1985), “Dichotomy and Duality: Reconceptualizing the Relationship between Policy and Administration in Council-Manager Cities” pgs. 221-232 [on-line]
Week 3: Politics-Administration Dichotomy, Part II
Monday, September 6
Labor Day – No Class
Wednesday, September 8
The Revisionist Debate
Read: Martin, D. (1988), “The
Fading Legacy of Woodrow Wilson” pgs. 631-636 [on-line] and
Svara, J. (1998), “The Politics-Administration Dichotomy Model as Aberration” pgs. 51-57
[on-line] and Svara, J. (2001), “The Myth of the Dichotomy: Complementarity of Politics and Administration in the Past and Future of Public Administration” pgs. 176-183 [on-line]
Friday, September 10
Case Study I: Waco
Read: Case I material from packet
Week 4: American Bureaucracy: Size and Structure
Monday, September 13
Federal structure, size of the American bureaucracy, organization theory
Read: Meier, pgs. 15-19 and Rosenbloom, chapter 4
Wednesday, September 15
Federal structure, size of the American bureaucracy, organization theory, cont.
Internal and external sources of power
Read: Meier, pgs. 48-67
Friday, September 17
Case Study II: Homeland Security: Then and Now
Read: Case II material from packet
Week 5: Public Personnel Systems
Monday, September 20
Public Personnel Administration and Collective Bargaining
Read: Meier, pgs. 29-37 and Rosenbloom, chapter 5
Wednesday, September 22
Public Personnel Administration and Collective Bargaining, cont.
Friday, September 24
Case Study III: Impossible Jobs: Part 1
Read: Case III material from packet
Research Topic Proposals Due
Week 6: Budgeting and Finance
Monday, September 27
Size and growth of budgets, budgetary process
Read: Rosenbloom, pgs. 259-291
Wednesday, September 29
Theories of budgeting
Read: Rosenbloom, pgs. 291-309
Friday, October 1
Case Study IV: Internal Revenue Service: 1998 Reforms
Read: Case IV material from packet
Week 7: Policy Typologies
Monday, October 4
Regulatory and Redistributive Policy
Read: Meier, pgs. 69-87
Wednesday, October 6
Distributive and Constituent Policy
Read: Meier, pgs. 88-102
Friday, October 8
Case Study V: Welfare Reform
Read: Case V material from packet
Week 8: Decision Making
Monday, October 11
Decision Making Models
Read: Rosenbloom, chapter 7
Wednesday, October 13
Decision Making Models, cont.
Mid-term Q & A
Friday, October 15
MID-TERM EXAM – Bring Blue Book
Week 9: The Public’s Expectations of Bureaucracy
Monday, October 18
The public’s expectations and perceptions of bureaucracy
Read: Meier, chapter 5 and Rosenbloom, chapter 10
Wednesday, October 20
The public’s expectations and perceptions of bureaucracy, cont.
Friday, October 22
Case Study VI: Impossible Jobs: Part II
Read: Case VI material from packet
Week 10: Controlling the Bureaucracy: Part I
Monday, October 25
Read: Meier, chapter 6
Wednesday, October 27
External controls, cont.
Friday, October 29
Case Study VII: Reagan and the EPA
Read: Case VII material from packet
Week 11: Controlling Bureaucracy: Part II
Monday, November 1
Accountability and ethics
Read: Meier, chapter 7 and Rosenbloom, chapter 12
Wednesday, November 3
Accountability and ethics, cont.
ICMA code of ethics
Friday, November 5
Case Study IIX: Impossible Jobs: Part III
Read: Case IIX material from packet
Week 12: Public Administration and Democratic Constitutionalism
Monday, November 8
Administrative Structure v. Constitutional Structure
Read: Rosenbloom, pgs. 477-485
Wednesday, November 10
Constitutional values, constitutional law
Read Rosenbloom, pgs. 485-514
Friday, November 12
Case Study IX: Bureaucracy and Education
Read: Case IX material from packet
Week 13: Reforming the Bureaucracy: The Case
Monday, November 15
Constitutional values, constitutional law, cont.
Wednesday, November 17
Reforming the American system of bureaucracy
Read: Meier, chapter 8
Friday, November 19
Case Study X: Foster Care: New York
Read: Case X material from packet
Week 14: Reforming the Bureaucracy: The Future, Part I
Monday, November 22
Reforming the American system of bureaucracy
Read: Meier, chapter 8 and Rosenbloom, chapter 13
Research Papers Due
Wednesday, November 24
Thanksgiving Holiday – No class
Friday, November 26
Thanksgiving Holiday – No class
Week 15: Reforming the Bureaucracy: The Future, Part II
Monday, November 29
The National Performance Review
Read: Osborne, D. and Gaebler, T. (1992), “Reinventing Government” chapter 11 [packet] and DeLeon, L. and Denhardt, R. (2000), “The Political Theory of Reinvention” pgs. 89-97 [on-line]
Wednesday, December 1
Final Exam Q & A
Friday, December 3
Study Day – No class
FINAL EXAM – TBA, Bring Blue Book
Please note: The instructor reserves the right to change the course schedule/requirements as necessary.