The American Democracy, 10th Edition (Patterson)

Chapter 13: The Federal Bureaucracy: Administering the Government


administrative law judge  An official who presides at a trial-like administrative hearing to settle a dispute between an agency and someone adversely affected by a decision of that agency.
agency point of view  The tendency of bureaucrats to place the interests of their agency ahead of other interests and ahead of the priorities sought by the president or Congress.
budgetary process  The process through which annual federal spending and revenue determinations are made.
bureaucracy  A system of organization and control based on the principles of hierarchical authority, job specialization, and formalized rules.
bureaucratic accountability  The degree to which bureaucrats are held accountable for the power they exercise.
cabinet (executive) departments  The major administrative organizations within the federal executive bureaucracy, each of which is headed by a secretary or, in the case of Justice, the attorney general. Each department has responsibility for a major function of the federal government, such as defense, agriculture, or justice.
clientele groups  Special interest groups that benefit directly from the activities of a particular bureaucratic agency and therefore are strong advocates of the agency.
demographic representativeness  The idea that the bureaucracy will be more responsive to the public if its employees at all levels are demographically representative of the population as a whole.
formalized rules  A basic principle of bureaucracy that refers to the standardized procedures and established regulations by which a bureaucracy conducts its operations.
government corporations  Government bodies, such as the U.S. Postal Service and Amtrak, that are similar to private corporations in that they charge for their services but differ in that they receive federal funding to help defray expenses. Their directors are appointed by the president with Senate approval.
hierarchical authority  A basic principle of bureaucracy that refers to the chain of command within an organization whereby officials and units have control over those below them.
independent agencies  Bureaucratic agencies that are similar to cabinet departments but usually have a narrower area of responsibility. Each such agency is headed by a presidential appointee who is not a cabinet member. An example is the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
job specialization  A basic principle of bureaucracy holding that the responsibilities of each job position should be explicitly defined, and that a precise division of labor within the organization should be maintained.
merit (civil service) system  An approach to managing the bureaucracy whereby people are appointed to government positions on the basis of either competitive examinations or special qualifications, such as professional training.
neutral competence  The administrative objective of a merit-based bureaucracy. Such a bureaucracy should be “competent” in the sense that its employees are hired and retained on the basis of their expertise, and “neutral” in the sense that it operates by objective standards rather than partisan ones.
patronage system  An approach to managing the bureaucracy whereby people are appointed to important government positions as a reward for political services they have rendered and because of their partisan loyalty.
policy implementation  The primary function of the bureaucracy; it refers to the process of carrying out the authoritative decisions of Congress, the president, and the courts.
presidential commissions  Advisory organizations within the bureaucracy that are headed by commissioners appointed by the president. An example is the Commission on Civil Rights.
regulatory agencies  Administrative units, such as the Federal Communications Commission and the Environmental Protection Agency, that have responsibility for the monitoring and regulation of ongoing economic activities.
Senior Executive Service (SES)  Top-level career civil servants who qualify through a competitive process to receive higher salaries than their peers but who can be assigned or transferred by order of the president.
spoils system  The practice of granting public office to individuals in return for political favors they have rendered.
whistleblowing  An internal check on the bureaucracy whereby employees report instances of mismanagement that they observe.
Patterson Tenth Edition Large Cover
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