Weber, M 1946, ‘Bureaucracy’ in R. Stillman (1996) Public Administration: Concepts and Cases 6th edn (excerpts)

Weber is a sociologist and philosopher whose works have been known and used for many years. Therefore, he has authority in this topic being studied. Weber views bureaucracy in two ways; It can be a scientific and generic model. It can be applied in either the public or private sectors. Weber believes that human civilization has managed to evolve from a primitive and mystical stage to a more rational and complex stage. This evolution has been facilitated by traditional, charismatic and legal-rational authorities. The concept of bureaucracy developed by Weber is based on the legal-rational authority. It is also the basis of the foundation of modern civilization, as it is viewed as “a belief in the legitimacy of the pattern of normative rules and the rights of those elevated to authority under such rules to issue commands” (Stillman 1996, p. 51). Because Weber argues that bureaucracy grows as a result of society’s needs of social services, health, and even education, work must be divided and specialized so as to ensure these desires are fully met.

Hill,M 2005, ‘The Public Policy Process’, Fourth edition, chapter 12 London: Pearson Longman

Hill (2005) is a sociologist who has authority in the topic being studied. This is because the topic of bureaucracy falls under the subject of sociology. Therefore, the ideas and arguments are reliable. Hill (2005) argues that a bureaucratic personality is what makes some individuals to prefer the approach of bureaucracy, despite the fact that some organizations actually need more rules. This argument is quite similar to Weber’s definition of bureaucracy as they all believe that policies are formed under normative rules. Hill (2005) also acknowledges the presence of a “street-level bureaucracy”. This is where the subset of a government institution interacts directly with the public hence representing the frontline of a government policy. An example of this is the social worker who interacts with a family directly while adhering to the governmental policies.

Hindmoor, A 2006, ‘William Niskanen and Bureaucracy’ in Rational Choice, ch 6

Hindmoor (2006) has authority in this field due to his previous works relating to the issue of public policy. According to Hindmoor (2006, p. 136), Bureaus have a primary goal of maximizing their budget which gives them actual control. Hindmoor (2006: 143) notes that bureaucrats tend to have more information than their political patrons, hence making it risky for the members of the public. This is because they use the information to benefit themselves as they set rules that give them more power. For instance, when they maximize the budget, the benefit is not personal per se, but rather it can be used to secure more patronage and prestige. Therefore, this scholar is also against the bureaucracy as it is viewed as an opportunity for the members of the public to be oppressed by those in power.

Potter, B 2016, ‘Why ACCC boss Rod Sims lost it with privatisation’, Australian Financial Review, July 27 2016

Potter (2016) has a history of writing about policy that specializes in industrial relations, productivity, and even the climate. Being a senior writer, he seems to have authority in the topic as he has already managed to work on previous policy stories. Therefore, his research is expected to be fruitful. In this particular article, Potter (2016, para 2-3) argues that the reason he is now against privatization is because of the price gouging by inadequately regulated monopolies. This argument is in line with the realization made by Hindmoor (2006) that bureaucrats try as much as possible to gain more power by budget maximization. Although no adequate regulatory regime exists, the bureaucrats have use their power to introduce the hiked prices charged at the ports. This shows how much bureaucrats can be a threat to the progress of the society.

Bell, S & Hindmoor, A 2009, ‘Rethinking Governance: the Centrality of the State in Modern Society’, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).

Both Bell and Hindmoor have authority in the field of political science as they are professors and researchers as well. Although there has been an argument that a new public management system is in place, Bell and Hindmoor (2009, p. 89) argue that the mode of governance is still the same as the decentralized bodies are still expected to operate under a “shadow of hierarchy”. This means that the state still has the power to exercise direct executive authority so as to enforce performance standards. This argument can be likened to Potter’s argument whereby bureaucrats use their knowledge, not for personal benefits, but for power benefits. Therefore, as much as it may have been viewed that the devolved and networked governance weakened the power of those in government, the truth is that it was yet another approach to further maximize their power.

DiIulio, J 2014, ‘Bring Back the Bureaucrats’, Templeton Press ch 1

            The author has authority in this topic as he is an active player in the government frontline. Dilulio (2014, p. 91) argues that it is imperative that more individuals be added into government so as to slow down its growth and instead improve its performance. This author argues that the government is using its power over the citizens to benefit itself yet the people are left suffering. This is the same argument that many other scholars have indicated including Hindmoor (2006) who argues that bureaucrats are using their knowledge to secretly benefit themselves by maximizing their budgets. For instance, although the government argues that there has been no increase in the staff working under the federal department, it remains questionable as to where the skyrocketing budgeting ends up Dilulio (2014, p. 55).

Edwards, M 2001, ‘Social Policy, Public Policy’, Allen and Unwin, Chapter 4.

Edwards (2001) is indeed a reliable source of the information provided in the book. This is because she was a major player in the social policy reforms which included Higher Education Contribution Scheme (HECS). The stage of policy analysis is where bureaucrats can contribute effectively. In the case of HECS, the senior ministers were at the centre of the analysis, even though some had conflicting expectations. Although the policy was introduced to offer help to less fortunate students, the end result was that the bureaucrats and the government got to benefit from it much more than the intended audience (Edwards 2001, p 99). Just as Dilulio (2014) argued, the government has not become weaker, but instead it is now stronger. This is because it still influences policies in such a way that it ends up with the most benefit while those in need are left worse off than they were initially.

Althaus, C, Bridgman, P & Davis, G 2007, ‘The Australian Policy Handbook’, 4th edition, Crows Nest: Allen and Unwin, chapter 3.

Having professions that are based on political science and public policy, these individuals have authority in writing about issues relating to bureaucracy. The arguments given here are similar to Weber’s arguments which state that public policy is important for specific aspects of the society such as roads, railways, emergency services and even industry development (Althaus, Bridgman & Davis 2007, p. 21). Although the politicians are responsible for making decisions, public servants have a role of analyzing and supporting their choices. In any of these sectors, policy development is an imperfect craft, mostly because of the chaotic state of the government (Althaus, Bridgman & Davis 2007, p. 44). Using ministers for policy making means that the government will pass laws that favor it instead of laws that will actually favor those in need. This is why bureaucracy is viewed negatively as it has presented yet another approach for the government to exploit resources.

Howlett, M, & Ramesh, M 2003, ‘Studying Public Policy’, Second edition OUP, chs 5&7(excerpts)

            These authors have a background in political science and government. Therefore, the arguments provided are reliable and valid as they have experience in the field. These authors argue that it is difficult to find a balanced approach on the subject. This is why they suggest a “middle-range theory construction”. This approach uses three dimensions of efforts to enable the effective engagement of the public, as well as find a solution to their problems. These include; policy actors, institutions, and ideas. Since they are advocating for a change towards a policy making strategy that focuses on institutions, it is possible to claim that they are against the bureaucratic approach employed by the government (Howlett & Ramesh 2003, p. 187). They have identified discrepancies in the present approach, and are now trying to figure out a lasting solution to the issue of policy making.

Kingdon, J 1995, ‘Agendas, Alternatives and Public Policies’, 2nd edition New York: Longman ch 9

            This author has a lot of history working on public policy topics. As a professional in the field, he is better suited to provide valid arguments that can be applied in real life. In his work, he argues that no single policy maker dominates the setting of an agenda. Similarly, none is ahead in giving new subjects attention. However, the elected government officials tend to have more influence than normal policy makers (Kingdon 1995, p. 197). This is because of the power they have in shaping alternatives. Therefore, politics is still a key influence in policy development, just as Howlett & Ramesh (2003) have argued. Therefore, alternatives such as joining forces of politics with that of the public is set to bring about important changes to how Policy is made and reformed. However, bureaucracy alone cannot bring about solutions to the problems of the society.

Cairney, P 2012, ‘Understanding Public Policy’, chapter 10 New York: Palgrave Macmillan

            This author is a reliable source owing to the background in the field of public policy. Cairney (2012, p. 187) argues that most policies stay the same for a very long time. Only a few change drastically. The changes in policies take place gradually, over many years as small changes are introduced. Here, it is evident that public attention does not bring much focus towards policy change. Although this should be the case, the actors triggering drastic policy change are usually the government officials who are also the bureaucrats intended to fight for the rights of citizens. These groups tend to bring more attention to their own personal problems, which are mostly a reflection of what benefits the government. It is meant to give it more power rather than bring a solution to the problems facing the citizens.

Elliott, C & Schlaepfer, R 2001, ‘The advocacy coalition framework: application to the policy process for the development of forest certification in Sweden’, Journal of European Public Policy 8:4 642-661.

These authors have a background in the field of public administration. Therefore, the findings of this paper can be considered reliable and may also be applied to other similar situations. According to Elliot & Schlaepfer (2001, p. 642), the presence of multiple actors makes public policy processes to be rather complex. It works by explaining belief and policy change, hence bringing about more understanding especially where there is goal disagreement. This case in Sweden was challenged by these policy making issues because of the different interest groups involved (Elliot & Schlaepfer 2001, p. 643). So far, the ACF is considered the best policy framework since it ensures that the goals of all groups involved are considered. This prevents the government and its officials from using bureaucracy to exploit the resources in an attempt to gain more power. This may be a solution to the problems identified by researchers such as Hindmoor (2006).

Manne, R 2005, ‘The unknown story of Cornelia Rau’, The Monthly Issue, 5 September, pp20- 33 (excerpts).

            Manne is a professor of politics, making his article a reliable and valid addition to the research. Cornelia Rau’s situation rooted from the issue of bureaucracy facing Kenja. The leaders in this company were misusing their authority and power by expecting the members to write down their deepest secrets so that that they could be blackmailed with in future (Manne 2005, p. 21). As such, members were scared to question the suspicious activities in the company. Due to their power, the leaders became feared by the members who were also exploited. The fact that there was no other group influencing the policy making made it easier for these leaders to acquire more power and authority over the years. Rau’s detention was also questionable as it was based on a culture of assumption whereby she was not given any chance to redeem herself (Manne 2005, p. 32). Basically, when one is locked up, the incarceration is assumed legal, even before the defendant is given a chance to clear her name.

Palmer, M 2005, ‘Report of the Inquiry in the Circumstances of the Immigration Detention of Cornelia Rau’, Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia,pp viii – xivp.

Palmer is a researcher in the field of public policy. He is, therefore, a a suitable individual to provide findings on the case being studied. According to Palmer (2005, p. 105), the department had already acquired a culture of assumption, just as Manne (2005) noted. Although Rau was using an alias by the name Anna, the officials did nothing to follow up and identify her true identity. This case also represents how bureaucracy influences policy making. For example, it is clear that, despite having rules and regulations in place, DIMIA went against these by holding Anna in a prison for 6 months (Palmer 2005, p. 107). This is an example of how policy makers use their authority and power in their own favour. The individuals in this department did as they pleased because they were the authorities.

Davis, T 2005, ‘Why I quit the department’, Eureka Street September-October, p12-14.

The information given by Davis is reliable considering the fact that he got to experience first-hand, what goes on in the immigration department. In this article, Davis states that what happened to Rau comes as no surprise as the culture of the department took a turn back in 1996 (Davis 2005, p. 13). Many individuals have been treated without dignity, despite the presence of rules and regulations to prevent the same. This change in culture is owed majorly to bureaucracy, as officials misuse their authority to gain more power over citizens. The result is that the department loses its meaning as the officials end up treating the detainees without respect which they deserve as they are human beings.

Bridgman, P & Davis, G 2004, ‘Australian Policy Handbook’, 3rd edn St Leonards: Allen & Unwin ch 10.

Both authors have been key players in the Australian policy making process. They have the experience and knowledge required to give an explanation of how it functions. Bridgman & Davis (2004, p. 124) argue that there needs to be specific changes in the way policy is made and implemented. It is important to have more interest groups participating in the process of policy making as this will help curb the effects of bureaucracy. Leaders, such as those in the immigration department will be more restricted as the excess power they possess and misuse will be lost.