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What are the Salient Features of a Professional and Apolitical Bureaucracy?

Professional and Apolitical Bureaucracy by Dr. Shumaila Parween

CSS Solved Political Science 2023 Past Paper | Professional and Apolitical Bureaucracy

The following question is attempted by Miss Dr. Shumaila Parween, the top scorer in CSS Political Science papers. Moreover, the answer is written on the same pattern, taught by Sir to his students, scoring the highest marks in compulsory subjects for years. This solved past paper question is uploaded to help aspirants understand how to crack a topic or question, how to write relevantly, what coherence is, and how to include and connect ideas, opinions, and suggestions to score the maximum.

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Question breakdown

In this question, the examiner inquired about two types of bureaucracy. You must first write an introduction, then explain the understanding and evolution of bureaucracy and the features of both types of bureaucracy, and finally, conclude.

                                                                       Outline

1-Introduction

Professionalism and an apolitical attitude in the job ethics of bureaucracy are optimistic signs that the bureaucracy is attaining its objectives. In addition, to procure professionalism and an apolitical bureaucracy, abidance with the characteristics of the hierarchal division of duties, impersonal behaviours at work, ethical culture, command, and control are necessary subjects. Similarly, the maintenance of the procedural structure of civil services reinforces a specialized and unpolitical bureaucracy.

2-Understanding bureaucracy

3-Genesis and Etiology of Bureaucracy

  • Marx Weber’s theory of Bureaucracy
  • The Chinese concept of government

4-Vulnerabilities in Bureaucracy

  • Loopholes in professional and apolitical conduct

5-Salient features of a professional and apolitical bureaucracy

  • Jurisdictional aptitude and division of labour    
  • Preservation of command and authority
  • Continuity in function
  •  Specialization in operations
  • Observance of ethical and moral responsibilities

6-Conclusion

                                                         Answer to the question

Introduction

Bureaucracy, a legal organization, has colossal effects on our society. Owing to the categories of bureaucratic duties, it promptly manages social work, administrative functions, police departments, and other governmental branches while seeking authority from legal rules and laws. Understanding its inception, many political science sociologists and analysts stretch its roots from the industrial period of history, relating it to the specialization of work after the Industrial Revolution, mainly in Europe. The initial objectives were to regulate public and private jobs and perform managerial roles in a capitalist society. Still, the diversity in its functions is usually based on the Chinese concept of the bureaucratic institution. Similarly, professionalism and an apolitical attitude in the job ethics of bureaucracy are optimistic signs, attaining the objectives of its formation. To procure professionalism and apolitical bureaucracy, binding to the hierarchal division of duties, impersonal behaviours, ethical culture, command and control, and maintaining the procedural structure of bureaucracy are necessary subjects. Consequently, the rules and regulations, the moral code and conduct, attendance to people’s needs, managerial skills, transparency, and aptitude are necessary for a specialized and unpolitical bureaucracy.  

Understanding bureaucracy

A legal organization known for its complexity, aptitude, managerial skills, hierarchical division of work, and unity. Bureaucracy is the merit-based recruitment of governmental personnel whose services are required for efficient operations. Correspondingly, based on aptitude, attitude, and problem-solving skills, bureaucratic functions in the contemporary period were copiously bound to its division of labour. For instance, bureaucracy aptly manages, controls, commands, follows legal rules and laws, integrates information to the upper benches of hierarchy, and coordinates depending on its designation in the categories of foreign services, administration, custom bureau, cantonment, police, military, railway, and post office.  

Genesis and Etiology of Bureaucracy

The most prominent philosopher who described the founding reasons for bureaucracy is Marx Weber, a German sociologist who also elucidated the characteristics of bureaucracy, specified its role and offered the historical emergence of this institution. Weber explained that bureaucracy is the most efficient form of institution, and its defining features are legal authority, functional capacity, managerial capabilities, command and control, and permanency, which have been fashioned to regulate a capitalist society. Furthermore, stating its aetiology, bureaucracy emerged as the preferred form of governmental organization during the late stages of the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century, when a capitalist society emerged, and the concept of specialized labour and surplus production was generated. To meet the needs of a specialized capitalist society, an impersonal, professional, and rational-legal organization was required; thus, a permanent legal organization in the form of bureaucracy was institutionalized. Besides, before the 1900s, the government workforce was scarce in Europe and America, and their influence on public affairs was negligible. Nonetheless, the Chinese bureaucratic model, which stretches back to the Qin dynasty (221–207 BCE) through a high workforce influence in the public and administrative sphere, is attributed to the modern-day bureaucracy. Hence, the contemporary government structure in all parts of the world assumes Chinese bureaucracy, government employees, and bureaucracy are significant in number, influencing almost all aspects of people’s daily lives. 

Vulnerabilities in Bureaucracy

Multiple contemporary stereotypes portray bureaucracy as unresponsive, biased, lacklustre, non-democratic, and incompetent. Presently, numerous countries facing critical bureaucratic rule, menaces like corruption, inactivity, and personal agenda over the benefits of the public in multiple dimensions of the state are on the play. In addition, with time, the power of bureaucracy develops, and the ideas of kinship, favouritism, red tapism, excessive rule and regulation, the lack of personal discretion, and the absence of accountability have taken a central role in bureaucratic operations. Eventually, these vulnerabilities have taken a toll on the state machinery, resulting in dilapidated economic revenues, polarized politics, stagnated development, high poverty, and a meagre rule of law index. By measuring the current stereotypes in bureaucracy, the need for administrative guidelines is inevitable.

Salient features of a professional and apolitical bureaucracy

Bureaucratic roles are categorized along diverse dimensions, particularly the role of civil servants in public organizations. Moreover, because of a defined set of duties requiring people-centred ethical services, bureaucracy has to perform its function professionally and apolitically. Numerous characteristics of a specialized bureaucracy ensure organizational advantages by acquiring impartiality, honesty, uprightness, transparency, division of labour, and following the defined rules and regulations.  

  • Jurisdictional aptitude and division of labour

Jurisdictional aptitude refers to a chain of authority and command in a hierarchal manner whereby bureaucracy is further divided into different ranks. Accordingly, the upper unit at the top of bureaucracy enjoys more power, managerial skills, professional conduct, and specialized knowledge, having authority over middle and lower ranks. Similarly, the intermediate position of bureaucracy maintains command over lower bureaucracy. Thus, the division of labour allows the division of roles, experience, and skill to speed any organizational or governmental action by minimizing conflict over authority to make decisions. Moreover, the internal structure of bureaucracy also plucks bad bureaucratic practices, maintaining checks and balances of upper ranks over lower positions for the more efficient accomplishment of a state’s operations.  

  • Preservation of command and authority

Bureaucracy is the compact institute of command and authority. As civil servants’ opinions, beliefs, and ideologies concerning the public sector and the role of bureaucrats in public decision-making, the hierarchal division of labour provides higher bureaucratic ranks with more responsibility and authority and delegated positions with less discretion. Consequently, a chain of command and control actualizes, seniority adopts more complex tasks and has higher decision-making power, commanding the lower ranks, delineating their functions, and creating a system of guides and reports.   Hence, control or authority is a glue that coordinates the multiplicity of bureaucracy, holds diversity in structure and function, and prevents units from exercising unchecked discretionary power. Eventually, by abiding by a command-and-control structure, bureaucracy can avoid political intervention and practice professionalism.     

  • Continuity in function

Continuity is another vital ingredient for a professional and apolitical bureaucracy. Legal and rational choices emphasize the importance of the system of rules and regulations for the bureaucracy. This institute’s legal constitution provides all necessary legislation for bureaucratic functions, authority, work ethics, a people-centred approach, transparency, managerial functions, and ethical use of authority in its conduct, coordination, and operations. These standard legal procedural rules enable the bureaucracy to maintain vitality, legality, and culture. At the same time, the legality and vitality of it repel political influence on it or threaten its existence or exploitation by bureaucrats. 

  • Specialization in operations

Additionally, the bureaucratic role is an amalgamation of different structural and institutional elements, of which apolitical and professional aspects have been of central importance. A profession involves a full-time occupation, embodies a code of ethics, enhances and protects public rights, and has professionalized knowledge. Accordingly, the professionalism of bureaucracy revolves around these features of the profession. It embodies ultimate goodness in its services, command, authority, and operations, releasing the purpose of its existence. To conclude, the professionalization of managerial officials requires their comprehensive devotion to their service and the utility of their expertise to fulfil their responsibilities without any tangential objective.  

  • Observance of ethical and moral responsibilities

The legal code of responsibilities of bureaucracy is often called standard operating procedures (SOP) of bureaucracy. These are formalized rules that establish guidelines within a bureaucracy. The operating procedures explicitly provide necessary strategies for an organization’s manoeuvres. One of the advantages of these rules and regulations is that they permit workforces to make swift and reliable verdicts. Further, teaching professionalism and apolitical behaviour in bureaucracy means that decisions are formulated based on already-built instructions rather than individual deliberation or private bias. To conclude, numerous codes of conduct are made in bureaucracy to observe professionalism in conduct and avoid bureaucracy and political collusion. In addition, inter-organizational control and regulation and ethical bureaucratic activities are the general aim of bureaucratic rubrics. 

Conclusion

To summarize the discussion, the specialization of labour during the Industrial Revolution emphasized the importance of separate legal departments that worked impersonally and justly. Thus, a legal institution, bureaucracy, has been formed to fulfil the demands of a capitalist society. However, as this field possesses numerous roles and authority, insinuating vulnerabilities are inevitable, dilapidating its mission of civil services, disregarding professionalism, collaborating with political agenda groups, and not sympathizing with the public are a few menaces that question bureaucratic authenticity.  In efforts to revive specialized bureaucratic conducts and apolitical attitudes of bureaucracy, features, such as the continuity of operation, observance of rules and regulations, abidance with professionalism, and separation of discretionary roles within bureaucracy possess ultimate effects.  

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