Roundtable: Bureaucratic Reform
1.0 Basic Information
Date of Videotaping July 2005
Title Bureaucratic Reform
General Topics/Chapters The Bureaucracy
Moderator Bryan Reece
Commentators Dennis Falcon and Victor Obasohan
Length of Video 11 Minutes 22 Seconds
A common complaint directed at government in general is that it is too slow, too complicated, and involves too much “red tape.” However, calls for bureaucratic reform often ignore the multitude of government services and programs that operate smoothly and efficiently to improve our lives in countless ways.
3.0 Video Annotations
These annotations are the actual text-based screen shots that synchronize with the video. Perusal of the annotations provides a good overview of the discussion.
Dennis Falcon, Bryan Reece, Victor Obasohan
A common complaint directed at government in general is that it is too slow, too complicated, and involves too much “red tape.” However, calls for bureaucratic
reform often ignore the multitude of government services and programs that operate smoothly and efficiently to improve our lives in countless ways.
1ST DISCUSSION TOPIC
What do most people think about government?
LISTEN FOR . . .
• Public Perceptions of Government
• Examples of Bureaucrats
• Role of Bureaucracy in United States
The term is used in a negative sense referring to the time-consuming,
complicated, expensive processes one must go through in order to receive
government services or benefits. Recent usage is believed to be based on the
practice of binding Civil War veterans' records in red tape--a process that made
opening them difficult.
Government employees who are likely to be referred to as bureaucrats are the
actual employees and managers of local, state, and federal agencies. The
elected and appointed officials at each level who make policy decisions can be executive or legislative in nature and are not generally considered bureaucrats.
Maximilian Weber (1864 –1920) was a German political economist and
sociologist. He is considered one of the founders of modern sociology and public
administration. He argued that bureaucracy is the expression of our rational
nature applied to the complex business of government.
2ND DISCUSSION TOPIC
Assuming that the bureaucracy is in need of some reforms, what might these
LISTEN FOR . . .
• Suggested Reforms to the Bureaucracy
• Benefits of Reform
• Limits to Reform
E-Government is the application of Internet technology to many of the programs and services provided by all levels of government. Many government agencies
now make it possible for citizens to access resources and government officials
online, eliminating many of the obstacles that once deterred many from seeking
Many of the products and services provided by government are not provided by the private sector and are not subject to the world of competition; however, many traditional government services (e.g., trash collection) can be delivered through the private sector.
In 1981, approximately 13,000 air traffic controllers (the people responsible for
monitoring and controlling the thousands of planes flying in the U. S.) went on strike. President Reagan fired more than 11,000 workers and banned them from being hired by the FAA for life.
There is a persistent demand by some that the government turn over many of
the programs and services it provides to the private sector. The reasoning
behind the call for privatization is that profit-motivated businesses will
strive to keep costs down and increase efficiency, thereby generating
savings for customers.
The perception held by many that government is ineffective and that the
bureaucracy is to blame may be hard to reverse. However, efforts to reform
government bureaucracy must consider a number of significant limitations. What
do you think? Is the bureaucracy in need of reform?
4.0 Multiple-Choice Questions
The following multiple-choice questions are online at MyPoliSciLab. Students can take the multiple-choice quiz after each video as a practice quiz or a scored quiz that is forwarded to their instructor/TA via email.
A common complaint directed at government and the bureaucracy in particular is that it:
a. is too slow.
b. is too complicated.
c. has too much “red tape.”
d. is too expensive.
*e. All of the above.
The time consuming, complicated, expensive processes one must go through to receive government benefits is referred to as:
*c. red tape.
d. paying dues.
The government employees who work for local, state and federal agencies are called:
Many consider ____________ to be the founding father of modern sociology and public administration.
a. Karl Marx
b. Helmut Kohl
c. Kal Lufthanza
*d. Max Weber
e. Gerhard Schroeder
The application of internet technology to government programs and services
Transcripts are available on the Roundtable Discussions page.