Can and Should the Bureaucracy be Politically Neutral?

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Canand Should the Bureaucracy be Politically Neutral?


Slide1: Neutrality of bureaucracy

Bureaucracyis achieved when the office holders are assigned titles and specificpositions. The duties of the officeholders of various governmentdepartments are defined by rules (Asmeron &amp Reis, 2016). In aneutral democracy, the administration work is done by full-timeemployees who are on the government payroll. In addition, employeesare expected to be non-political and avoid aligning themselves withany party. The purpose of adopting neutrality is to ensure that theoffice holders are able to work with any government and deliverservices with integrity, enthusiasm, and impartiality, irrespectiveof the political party that wins the elections. However, politicalneutrality should be discouraged because it has a lot of drawbacks.

Slide2: Importance of political control

Imposingpolitical control over bureaucracy ensures that the office holdersare responsive to elected officials. This idea is based on the factthat elected people are the representatives of the citizens, whichmake them superior to appointed individuals (Asmeron &amp Reis,2016). In other words, political control introduces the voice of themembers of the public to the public administration. This increasesaccountability and concern for the current public values. Moreover,true political neutrality, as proposed in Weber’s system, isdifficult to achieve because office holders are not machines.

Slide3: Drawbacks of an autonomous bureaucracy

Neutralityrequires the elimination of political control, which leads to anautonomous bureaucracy. An autonomous bureaucracy can reject radicalvalues of the ruling party, irrespective of whether they areimportant to the nation. Moreover, a decision to enhance thepolitical neutrality reduces the significance of elections(Trondal&amp Veggeland, 2014). This is because an autonomous bureaucracy canveto the decisions of the government, which limits the inclusion ofthe voice of the people in the matters of public administration.


Asmeron,K. &amp Reis, P. (2016). Democraticand bureaucratic neutrality.New York, NY: Springer.

Trondal,J., &amp Veggeland, F. (2014). The autonomy of bureaucraticorganizations: An organization theory argument. Journalof Indian Orthodontic Society,5 (2), 55-69.

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