POLS 330-2: Bureaucracy and the Policy Process

Spring 2007

M/W 3:30-4:45 pm

DuSable 246     


Instructor: Ms. Georgette Dumont

Email: gdumont@niu.edu

Office: DuSable 476

Phone: (815) 753-1818

Office hours:  Tues: 4:45-6:15 pm

                      Thurs: 2:00-3:30 pm & by appointment



Course Objective 

            This class will looks at the role of the public bureaucracy in the formation and implementation of public policy. This will include the interaction of public agencies with other levels and branches of government, as well as the interaction of bureaucracy with nonprofit organizations, interest groups, and the media.  Special attention will be paid to the tools bureaucracies use in the call for efficient government.  At the conclusion of the class, you will be able to identify how the bureaucracy responds to each of the aforementioned actors and the importance of each in the implementation of American public policy.


Course Materials 

            Course text: Stillman, Richard (2004).  The American Bureaucracy: The Core of Modern                              Government, 2nd ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing.

            Supplemental Material: There will be articles that will be available through JSTOR and                                 ArticleFirst as well as select book chapters.  For your convenience, this material will be linked on     Blackboard.


In addition to the texts, students are required to create accounts on the Blackboard Course Server (http://webcourses.niu.edu) during the first week of class.  This site will be utilized for posting on-line readings, important course announcements, student grades, and other course materials.


Calculation of Grades

Your grade in this course will consist of your performance on two exams (a midterm and a final exam), two research papers, and class participation.  The following is a breakdown of how the grades will be weighted:



The grading scale is as follows:


50 points

360 - 400


Homework Assignments

25 points each (50 total)

320 - 359


Research Paper 1

50 points

280 - 319


Research Paper 2

50 points

240 - 279


Midterm Exam

100 points

< 240


Final Exam

100 points




400 points








Class Policies

Attendance: There is a strong positive correlation between class attendance and student performance.  I expect you to show up for every class.  Being in class affords you the opportunity to ask questions and learn from your fellow students. 

Tardiness: I expect all students to get to class on time and remain in class for the duration of the class period.  If you are late, you will be marked absent.

Late assignments/make-up exams: I do not accept late work, nor do I offer make-up exams.  If you have a situation that requires an exception, you must notify me well in advance and be prepared to produce documentation. 

Course communications: Students have an obligation to activate and monitor their NIU email account.  This account will be used for out-of-class communication as well as Blackboard.

Cell Phones: No cell phone use during class.  This includes not only calls but text messaging, internet browsing, and instant messaging as well.  Please turn your cell phones off

Behavior: I expect professional decorum in the classroom at all times.  Do not read the newspaper, talk to your friends or sleep during class. Do not come to class late or leave early.  All of these actions are not only rude to your teacher and peers, but are also not acceptable in a college setting.  

Academic Dishonesty: The maintenance of academic honesty and integrity is of vital concern to the Department of Political Science and the University community. Any student found guilty of academic dishonesty will face both academic and disciplinary sanctions.  It is each student’s responsibility to become familiar with this section of the University's Academic Integrity policy of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences: Advising Handbook, and to follow it. 

Disabilities: Under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, NIU is committed to making reasonable accommodations for persons with documented disabilities.  NIU’s CAAR’s mission ensures that people with disabilities "are viewed on the basis of ability, not disability" and that their needs will be met in order to ensure an environment of equal opportunity.   Students should inform the instructor of any such needs, and have the needs verified through the Center for Access-Ability Resources, Health Services [Fourth Floor: Phone: (815) 753-1303] during the first two weeks of the semester.

Obligations – I expect you to arrive to class on time and prepared.  This means to make sure you have completed the readings before class.  If you have any questions or concerns, please let me know.  I will make myself available to help you outside of class or office hour times if necessary.

Class Papers: There are two 5-7 page research papers assigned for this class.  The first paper will be due by February 28, and the second by April 30.  As noted above, they will not be accepted if handed in late.   The paper topics are discussed in more detail below.

Undergraduate Academic Awards: The department of political science offers award opportunities to undergraduate, both those who major or minor in political science as well as those who do not.  A list of the awards is available on the department’s website, or through this link.

Department of Political Science website: Students are strongly encouraged to visit the political science department’s website for information.  This site is up-to-date with information that will assist students in contacting faculty and staff, exploring graduate studies, researching career options, and accessing important details related to undergraduate programs and activities. For important information on the Department of Political Science, please visit: http://polisci.niu.edu/

Class Schedule:*

January 17: Introduction

                        Review class syllabus

                        Blackboard overview


January 22: The American bureaucracy

            What is the American Bureaucracy?

            Read: Stillman Ch 1, pgs 1-7

                      Martin, John Bartlow 1975.  “The Blast in Centralia No. 5: A Mine Disaster No One Stopped”.                       In Richard J. Stillman (ed.) Public Administration: Concepts and Cases, 8th ed.  Boston:                               Houghton Mifflin, pp 31-44.  Available on Blackboard.


*Extra credit due: Certified completion of the Online Tutorial on Academic Integrity, available at: http://www.ai.niu.edu/ai/students/.  Worth 5 points.*


January 24: Bureaucratic Myths and Realities

            What are the myths of American Bureaucracy and how can they affect citizen’s view of government?

            Read: Stillman Ch 1, pgs 7-29


Homework: Due January 29: After reading “The Blast in Centralia No. 5,” how do you think the people in the study viewed public administration?  How did their views affect their actions?  Specifically write about two of the following people in the study: Inspector Scanlon, Director of the Department of Mines and Minerals Medill, Governor Green, District UMW Union Leader “Spud White”, Centralia Mine Manager Brown, and the Centralia mine workers of Local 52 who wrote “The Save Our Lives” letter.  This assignment should be 2 pages double spaced, 12 pt font.


January 29: Politics-Administration Dichotomy

            What is the dichotomy, and why does it matter?

            Read: Wilson, Woodrow 1887.  The Study of AdministrationPolitical Science Quarterly, Vol. 2,                         No. 2 , pp. 197-222.  Available on Blackboard.

                       Dimock, Marshall 1937.  The Study of AdministrationThe American Political Science Review,                  Vol. 31, No. 1, pp. 28-40

            Laurence J. O'Toole 1987.  Doctrines and Developments: Separation of Powers, the            Politics-Administration Dichotomy, and the Rise of the Administrative State

            Public Administration Review, Vol. 47, No. 1, pp. 17-25.





January 31: Public Policy Overview

            What is the purpose of public policy?

            Read: Ripley, Randall and Grace Franklin. 1984.  Congress, the Bureaucracy, and Public Policy, 3rd ed.                  Homewood, IL: The Dorsey Press.  Chapter 8: Congress, the Bureaucracy, and the Nature of                        American Public policy.  Available on Blackboard.

                       Rourke, Francis. 1984.  Bureaucracy, Politics, and Public Policy, 3rd ed.  Harper Collins                               Publishers.  Chapter 1: Introduction: Bureaucracies and Policy Making.  Available on                                   Blackboard.


February 5: The Rise of the American Bureaucracy

            Why was there a need for bureaucracy and how did it come into existence?

            Read: Stillman Ch 2, pgs 35-49


February 7: The Rise of the American Bureaucracy, cont.

            What are the general characteristics of the rise of American bureaucracy?

            Read: Stillman Ch 2, pgs 49-73.


February 12: Forces Shaping the Modern American Bureaucracy

            How do the first two levels of inputs on bureaucracy influence bureaucratic institutions?

            Read: Stillman Ch 3, pgs 77-90


February 14: Forces Shaping the Modern American Bureaucracy, cont.

            How does the third level of inputs on bureaucracy influence bureaucratic institutions?

            Read: Stillman Ch 3, pgs 91-107        

                      Cook, Timothy. 1989.  Governing with the News: The News Media as a Political Institution. 

                        Ch 7: Beyond the White House, Available on Blackboard.


February 19: Forces Shaping the Modern American Bureaucracy, cont.

            How does the fourth level of inputs on bureaucracy influence bureaucratic institutions?

            Read: Stillman Ch 3, pgs 107-124


Homework: Due February 26: Going back to the Centralia Case Study, what were the external forces influencing the outcome of the case?  What had the greatest impact, what had the least impact?  This assignment should be 2 pages double spaced, 12 pt font.


February 21: Modern American Bureaucracy: Tools and Change

            How is, or is,  government administration adjusting to change?

            Read: Rourke, Francis E. 1991. “American Bureaucracy in a Changing Political Setting 
                        Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory: J-PART , Vol. 1, No. 2, pp. 111-129. 

                      Salamon, Lester.  2002.  The Tools of Government.  Oxford: Oxford University Press.  Read              the summary and list of “tools.” Available on blackboard.


February 26: Inside the Public Bureaucracy

            How can professionally appointed administrators and/or experts affect public policy?

            Read: Stillman Ch 4, pgs 129-157.


February 28: Inside the Public Bureaucracy, cont.

            How can civil servants affect public policy?

            Read: Stillman Ch 4, pgs 157-195.

                      Lipsky, Michael. 2005.  Street-Level Bureaucrats as Policy Makers.  Reprinted in Jay M. Shafritz                   Karen S. Layne and Christopher P. Borick (eds) Classics of Public Policy.  New York: Pearson                     Longman, pp 51-61.  Available on Blackboard. 

            Paper 1 due


March 5: Review and questions for the Midterm


March 7: Midterm Exam


March 12: Spring break, no class

March 14: Spring break, no class


March 19: Outputs of the American Bureaucracy

            What are the outputs of bureaucratic agencies dependent on?

            Read: Stillman Ch 5, pgs 201-223


March 21: Outputs of the American Bureaucracy, cont.

            What role do the different actors in the bureaucracy play in producing the desired outputs?

            Read: Stillman Ch 5, pgs 223-248


March 26: Professional travel – class canceled


March 28: Communication in Administration

            Why is communication important in public administration?

            Read: Rosenthal, Uriel. 1997. “The Relevance of Administrative Communication to Democratic                              Politics: Communicating in Democracies.” In James L. Garnett and Alexander Kouzmin (eds)                      Handbook of Administrative Communication, New York: Marcel Dekker, pp 153-169.                                  Available on Blackboard.


April 2: Feedback Loop in the Bureaucratic System   

            What trends are transforming the goals of modern bureaucracy?

            Read: Stillman Ch 6, pgs 255-272


April 4: Feedback Loop in the Bureaucratic System, cont.     

            What forces are affecting bureaucratic authority?

            Read: Stillman Ch 6, pgs 272-311


April 9: The Future of the American Bureaucracy

            What are some of the challenges facing the American bureaucracy?

            Read: Kettl, Donald. 2005.  The Next Government of the United States: Challenges for Performance in                    the 21st Century.  IBM Center for The Business of Government.  Available at:                                               www.businessofgovernment.org/pdfs/KettlReport.pdf


April 11: The Future of the American Bureaucracy, cont.


April 16:   The Future of the American Bureaucracy, cont.

            How do you see the future of public administration in regard to the policy process?

            Read: Stillman Ch 7, pgs 316-346.




April 18: The Future of the American Bureaucracy, cont.

            Read: Rourke, Francis 1992. Responsiveness and Neutral Competence in American Bureaucracy”                                     Public Administration Review, Vol. 52, No. 6, pp. 539-546.


April 23: Case Study: Hurricane Katrina

            Read: Schneider, Saundra. 2005.  Administrative Breakdowns in the Governmental Response to                               Hurricane Katrina.  Public Administration Review, 65(5), p515-518.

                      Kettl, Donald. 2007. System of Stress: Homeland Security and American Politics, 2nd ed.                                 Washington D.C.: C.Q. Press.  Chapter 3: Reshaping the Bureaucracy.  Available on                                      Blackboard.


April 25: Case Study: Hurricane Katrina, cont.

Read: Kettl, Donald 2006.Political Storm: The Intergovernmental Puzzle of Hurricane Katrina.  In Andrew White and Peter Eisinger (eds) Cities at Risk: Catastrophe, Recovery and Renewal in New York and New Orleans, New York: Milano The New School for Management and Urban Policy, pp 13-16.  Available at: www.newschool.edu/milano/urbanconversations/cities_at_risk.pdf

           Burns, Peter, Edward F. Renwick and Matthew O. Thomas. 2006.  Interests, Issue and Actors: The Politics of Decision Making in Post-Katrina New Orleans.  In Andrew White and Peter Eisinger (eds) Cities at Risk: Catastrophe, Recovery and Renewal in new York and New Orleans, New York: Milano The New School for Management and Urban Policy, pp 25-31.  Available at: www.newschool.edu/milano/urbanconversations/cities_at_risk.pdf


April 30: Wrap up the role of the bureaucracy in public policy making

            Paper 2 due


May 2: Review for the Final


May 7: Final exam: DU 246 4:00 – 5:50

            * I reserve the right to make changes and adjust the schedule as needed.


Research Papers                                                                                                                           

The main writing assignments for this course are two (2) 5-7 page formal research papers (be sure to follow the standard paper format provided below).  In general, late papers will not be accepted (see class policies). 

Paper topic 1: How has the modern American bureaucracy, as we study it today, been shaped?  What role does the bureaucracy have in public policy?  What are some of the forces affecting the bureaucracy?

Paper topic 2:  What do the experts see as problems, or tensions, facing governing in the future?  Why are these tensions arising?  What are the proposed solutions?  You have two choices:

            1) Focus on one scholar and the different problems they address as well as solutions.  Include in this critiques or comparisons from other experts in the field as well as relating some of the historical aspects of the problems posed; or

            2)  Cover a broad range of key problem(s) addressed by different scholars and compare and contrast their solutions.  Again, you should include some of the historical aspects of the problems posed.

Your research papers should follow these guidelines:

  • Include a title page containing your name, date submitted, and title of your paper.
  • Be typed, double-spaced, 12-point Times or Times New Roman font, with 1” margins. 
  • Use a style guide, such as MLA or APA, consistently throughout the paper.
  • Include an introduction of your topic.  What is the issue you are investigating?  Why should this issue interest the reader?
  • Include a literature review in which you must cite at least 5 separate scholarly journal articles or books What do the “experts” have to say about this issue?
  • Include an analysis in which you develop your argument.
  • Include a conclusion.  What have you learned from this project?  Does this area warrant future research?  If so, what direction should this research go?
  • Include a Reference section.  Remember, if in doubt you should cite a work.  Over-citing will only rarely get you in trouble, while plagiarism is dealt with severely. 
  • Follow the grading criteria below!

Grading Criteria for Research Papers

A consistent grading schema will be used, with the points available for the various assignments apportioned among a number of criteria. These will include the following (and are further elaborated below):

  • Identify the issue/state the question (5 points)
  • Get facts right (9 points)
  • Systematic, comprehensive research (9 points)
  • Write professionally (9 points)
  • Cite sources in text, correctly (9 points)
  • Logical, coherent, balanced argument (9 points)
  • Well used tables/ graphs (1 point bonus)
  • Follow instructions (1 point debits)


  • Identify the issue/state the question, main theme, etc.
    • Avoid the 'mystery novel' approach to professional writing.  Tell your reader in the first paragraph, if not the first line, what the paper seeks to do.  Do this as clearly as possible, with a "This paper will..." statement, if necessary.
    • Also strongly consider closing the introduction with a brief summary of how the argument will proceed.
  • Get facts right
    • Self explanatory.  Note that the likelihood of misinterpreting what you've read (or falling for a particularly biased, distorted take on an issue) is inversely related to the amount of research that you do.
    • Note that this is a class about public administration, not the management of private companies.
  • Systematic, comprehensive research
    • You must sweep virtually every broad information source when researching your topic.  It is not enough to find  information adequate to reach the specified word limit.  Weak research can easily either lead to misinterpretation of the few sources found or worse, overlook entirely different perspectives on the issue.  This doesn't mean you have to read each of the 1000+ relevant sources that you might identify.  It does mean that you should sample these to get a sense of the different perspectives on a topic, and ensure that you sample these various perspectives

§         Rule of thumb #1: if your list of works cited includes only books, only journals, or (especially) only internet sites, the research was neither systematic nor comprehensive. 

          • Beware the internet!  Do not use web information unless it is from a well known, respected source.
      • Rule of thumb #2: engage course materials (cite course readings liberally).  You are allowed, even encouraged, to disagree with or challenge course readings and lectures.  You cannot, though, ignore these.
    • Avoid giving dictionary definitions; you can assume that your reader is familiar with standard English.
  • Write professionally
    • Self explanatory. 
    • Write for an informed lay person on the street, rather than for experts, idiots, or your class teacher.
    • Use quotations sparingly.  This is meant to be a paper by you, not a collection of selected quotes that you thought were especially relevant to the topic.
    • Use a professional tone.  Don't force it.  Some pet hates:
      • Use third person; don't use first person (e.g. I, we, our), or second person (you).  You are not writing this from yourself, you are writing it on behalf of an organization, to an impersonal audience.
      • Don't use contractions (e.g. don't).
      • Avoid rhetorical questions (e.g. Why is this the case?).
      • Avoid starting a sentence with a conjunction (e.g. The paper was bad.  And she started a sentence with and.).
      • Avoid singular/plural inconsistency (e.g.  The student lost points for singular/plural consistency in their paper).
  • Cite sources correctly, in text and in the bibliography
    • You may use any of the standard citation methods.  Key points:
      • Sources must be retrievable.  Given the in-text citation, your reader should be able to go directly to the appropriate full citation in your list of works cited (or bibliography), and from this to the page (though this is sometimes tricky with web sites) of the document from which you got the information.
        • This means that if you cite something as (Smith 2000) in the narrative, the source should be listed alphabetically under Smith in the list of works cited.
        • Do not cite urls in text.
        • Note that you must have a proper list of works cited.
          • Everything cited in text must be in this list of works cited; anything not cited in text should not be in this list of works cited.
      • Bibliographic references should be informative on their own.  Listing a url is not enough, as your reader should be able to get some idea where the information is from, so that s/he does not have to go to the source to get some idea of credibility.
      • You don't need a quotation in order to include a citation.
      • Be spare in referring to sources in text.  For instance, do write 'Perry (1996) argues...'  Do not write, 'James L. Perry, in his chapter titled 'Effective enterprises, effective administrators' in his 1996 book Handbook of Public Administration, argues...'  In many newspaper articles, government reports, and in popularized academic stuff (like a textbook, for instance), you may see examples like the one that I ask you not to use.  But more analytical work doesn't typically do this, and I want you to practice this usage.
      • Don't cite a single source consecutively in a paragraph.  Every sentence does not need to be supported.  You can summarize extended passages of a source in a paragraph in your paper, then cite the source once at the end, indicating the pages from which it came, e.g.: (Perry 1996: 739-45).
      • Include the in-text citation in the sentence it is a part of.  Like this: the world is round (Columbus 1492).  Not like this: the world is round. (Columbus 1492)  or like this: the world is round. (Columbus 1492).
      • Don't include the in-text citation in quotation marks.  Like this: "The world is round" (Columbus 1492).  Not like this: "The world is round (Columbus 1492)," and certainly not like this: "The world is round. (Columbus 1492)"
      • Note, again, the admonishment against plagiarism, and consult NIU's Academic Honesty Policy.
  • Logical, coherent, balanced argument
    • Your argument should have logical structure, and be easy to follow.
      • The main body of the argument should be consistent with what you told your reader you were going to do in the "brief summary of how the argument will proceed" in the introduction. 
      • The conclusion should also be consistent with the introduction, and with the main body of the paper.
      • Remember that your reader is not inside your head, and so may not know where you are going or why you are going there if you do not make this clear.
    • These are not opinion pieces; they should be detached, analytical and balanced.  Present fairly the different perspectives on the issue.  It is not necessary (indeed is discouraged) to choose a 'solution' to the issue which you are addressing.  That is for politicians.  Simply present the evidence and flesh out the options.
  • Well used tables/ graphs (bonus)
    • Note the 'well used'.  Few people do this well, so I throw in this requirement to encourage students to develop this skill. 
      • It especially doesn't mean reproduce a table, diagram, or such that you find elsewhere.  It must be original.
    • All tables and graphs need to be self contained, including both a title and source.  They also need to be incorporated into the narrative of your paper: "as shown in Figure 4 below...The table also illustrates..."
    • Tables and graphs should be attractive and professionally presented.
    • Use of tables and graphs do not count toward the paper requirements.  In other words, the 5-7 page paper should be 5-7 pages of text, nor tables and graphs.
  • Follow instructions (debits)
    • Self explanatory.  Pay attention to the various course requirements.
    • Especially note NIU’s Academic Integrity Policy.  On online plagiarism tutorial can be found here.





Plagiarism as defined by NIU English Department’s:


Students faced with the task of writing a paper are sometimes tempted to borrow facts, ideas, or phrases from other writers as an aid to their own expressions. While it is possible to do this in an acceptable manner, the beginning writer in particular should be aware of the dangers of straying into the area of plagiarism. PLAGIARISM, SIMPLY DEFINED, IS TAKING SOMEONE ELSE'S WORDS OR IDEAS AND REPRESENTING THEM AS BEING YOUR OWN. It is specifically prohibited by University regulations, which state:

Good academic work must be based on honesty. The attempt of any student to present as his or her own work that which he or she has not produced is regarded by the faculty and administration as a serious offense. Students are considered to have cheated if they copy the work of another during an examination or turn in a paper or an assignment written, in whole or in part, by someone else. Students are guilty of plagiarism, intentional or not, if they copy material from books, magazines, or other sources without identifying and acknowledging those sources or if they paraphrase ideas from such sources without acknowledging them. Students guilty of, or assisting others in, either cheating or plagiarism on an assignment, quiz, or examination may receive a grade of F for the course involved and may be suspended or dismissed from the university. (Undergraduate Catalog, p. 47)

The essence of plagiarism is theft and misrepresentation. One who plagiarizes is attempting to get credit, in the form of a grade, for someone else's work; in effect, he or she is doing the same sort of thing as copying another person's answers on an exam. Thus guilt or innocence in plagiarism cases is not a matter of how much material was stolen or what the motives of the thief were. Any material which is taken from another writer and presented as if it were the student's own original work comes under the prohibition.

Specifically, the following are examples of plagiarism:

1. A paper or assignment actually written in whole or part by another.

2. A paper or assignment copied word-for-word or with only minor changes from a book, magazine, or other source.

3. A paper copied in part from one or more sources, without proper identification and acknowledgment of the sources.

4. A paper which is merely a paraphrase of one or more sources, using ideas and/or logic without credit, even though the actual words may be changed.

5. A paper which quotes, summarizes or paraphrases, or cuts and pastes words, phrases or images from an Internet source without identification and the address of the Web site.

Notice numbers 2, 4, and 5. Direct quotation is not the only kind of plagiarism. Taking someone else's ideas, judgments or logic, even if you put them in your own words, is as unacceptable as stealing the words.

This does not mean that outside sources may never be used. Some subjects and some assignments require research and the quotation of other writers' work. But all such use of outside materials must be properly identified, through quotation marks, internal citations, endnotes, and/or other accepted ways of acknowledging such borrowings. It is not the use of an outside source that is wrong; it is the implicit claim that any material obtained in that manner is in fact original.

Nor does this mean that every single fact that you learn from some outside source must be documented. Material which is general knowledge or generally available from many sources (such as dictionary definitions, familiar historical facts, and the like) need not be identified; a reader assumes that you got the information somewhere. In most courses, facts drawn from the textbook in that course (but not the author's judgments or conclusions) are fair game. But it is always better to err in the direction of over-acknowledgment: when in doubt, identify your source. Better yet, unless the assignment requires research, rely on your own knowledge, ideas and words.