Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 7

A Reaction Paper to Terrys Bureaucratic Leadership in a Democratic Republic

(Larry D. Terry Leadership of Public Bureaucracies)

Summary of the Text
The chapters discussion focused on the issue of the neglect of bureaucratic leadership.
But at the end of the chapter, Terry presented various contentions pushing for the importance of
bureaucratic leadership.
Terry started the chapter by stating that the United States is facing lots of problems. Due
to these problems, the leadership reform movement has arisen, - and the movement has gained
momentum and has turned into a referendum on the quality of leadership in the said country.
But despite all the talks about the more effective leadership, the topic of bureaucratic
leadership is absent. Terry mentioned Doig and Hargrove (1987) who offered several reasons on
the lack of scholarly interest in bureaucratic leadership. But Terry himself suggested that the
neglect of bureaucratic leadership may arise from fear of bureaucratic power, progressive legacy,
scientific management and scholarly attempts to reconcile bureaucracy with democracy.
The Fear of Bureaucratic Power
The rise and expansion of public bureaucracies was viewed by many as a threat to
democracy. Critics charge that civil servants have been wielding too much unaccountable power
which is incongruent with the values of the American democratic system. Critics of bureaucracy
also contend that the vast power exercised by the bureaucrats is incompatible with the
constitutional design.
According to Kenneth J. Meier (2000), the bureaucracy has been transformed into a
political institution. Hence, its enormous power should be controlled and checked in a way
similar to that of the other branches of government.
The fear of bureaucracy has become so pervasive that Herbert Kaufman (1981) describes
the situation as a raging pandemic. And these fears were responded with by devising strategies
to strip public bureaucracies of their power. These strategies are guided by the assumption that
severely reducing and tightly controlling the discretion and authority of administrative officials
can curtail bureaucratic power.
But supporters of public bureaucracies contend that the power-stripping strategies have
caused long term damage and have undermined the capacity of administrative institutions of
government to serve public good. Supporters argue that such strategies not only have weakened
public institutions but also have relegated the notion of bureaucratic leadership to a meaningless
status. Critics respond that the concept of bureaucratic leadership is a contradiction in terms and
thus deserve the dubious status of oxymoron.
The Progressive Legacy
Laurence OToole (1984) and other scholars attribute the reformist character of public
administration to the Progressive Era, that seemingly optimistic period that gave birth to the selfconscious public administration movement. The progressives believed that immediate action was

needed to save America and that the state should assume primary role in the rescue operation.
They favored reforms that would produce orderly social change and directed their energies to
changing the political system.
Reformers sought sweeping changes in the processes by which political officials were
selected as well as in the structure of the government itself. Reformers intent on modifying the
structure of government embraced efficiency as a normative criterion for judging the goodness of
government. When political reformers spoke of efficiency, they usually meant commercial
efficiency or the output-input of dollars. Political reformers were obsessed with the idea of
commercial efficiency. Thus, reformers sought to apply the business enterprise model to
government. As Samuel P. Hays (1964) has shown, the business enterprise model became the
guiding light of political reformers. The business enterprise model has three elements: 1)
application of scientific methods; 2) use of experts; and 3) concept of a strong executive.
The Influence of Scientific Management
The progressives love affair with the business enterprise model obscured the vision of
bureaucratic leadership. The business enterprise model incorporated Frederick W. Taylors
(1911) philosophy of scientific management, which was inherently antiexecutive leadership in
nature. Taylors system vested power and authority in the planning department. It was not until
1919 when H.S. Person proposed a distinction between administration and management. In
Persons conceptual scheme, management involved the use of scientific methods and therefore
was the responsibility of scientific experts. Correct methods were superior to the extraordinary
talents of humans. By accepting the primacy of correct methods over the special qualities of
individuals, political reformers also disregarded leadership in the realm of administration.
Political reformers also sought to put into practice the concept of a strong executive. And when
political reformers referred to a strong executive, they usually meant a strong political executive
rather than a strong administrative executive.
Scholarly Attempts to Reconcile Bureaucracy with Democracy
Writers from the hierarchical perspective acknowledge that the value orientations of
bureaucracy (efficiency) and democracy (responsiveness to the public) are at odds. But the
conflict can be resolved or minimized if the roles and responsibilities of bureaucracy can be
clearly defined within the boundaries of the democratic system. It is suggested that a
complementary relationship can and should exist between bureaucracy and democracy, though
there are strings attached. First, bureaucracy must occupy and remain in a subordinate position.
Second, career civil servants who administer the bureaucracy must assume a subservient role and
faithfully execute the commands of political superiors.
The hierarchical approach provided, at least in theory, an attractive solution to the
bureaucracy/democracy problem. But this approach had an adverse effect on the development of
theory concerning bureaucratic leadership for several reasons: 1) most hierarchical theories reject
the notion of an active administrative leadership roles for career executives, and 2) the

mechanistic nature of the theory reduces career executives to merely instruments or tools. As
a result, career executives are excluded from serious discussions regarding the determination of
means as well as ends an indispensable part of the leadership experience.
The foundation of traditional hierarchical theory started to crack as scholars began to
realize that formal external controls could not eliminate the discretion of administrative officials.
Many turned to the pluralist model of politics as a viable alternative to the hierarchical approach.
The pluralist model, which draws heavily on the Madisonian conception of democracy,
emphasizes the active participation of multiple interest groups in the political process. From the
pluralist perspective, public bureaucracies: 1) provide interest groups ample access and
opportunities to participate in the political process, and 2) function as a forum for interest group
competition and bargaining. Even so the pluralist model is subject to the same criticism leveled
against the hierarchical approach. It denies public administrators an active administrative
leadership role in the political process. Administrative officials are cast in a passive role of
referees in an arena in which interest group competition and bargaining occurs. According to J.P.
Burke (1986), the administrator is not an active responsible agent making a positive contribution
to policy formulation and implementation; rather, he is a blank slate upon which are written the
demands of external groups and interests.
Leadership in Administration
Democracy is dependent on bureaucracy. We can no longer afford to ignore the
leadership role of administrative officials. It is time to put leadership back into the administration
of public bureaucracies. To succeed at this task, scholars need to develop a normative theory of
bureaucratic leadership a theory that is grounded in the constitutional tradition and accords
certain legitimacy to the role of public bureaucracies and career civil servants in the democratic
system of government.
The Constitutional Legitimacy of the Administrative State
In To Run a Constitution: The Legitimacy of the Administrative State, John A. Rohr
(1986) sets out to legitimate the administrative state in terms of constitutional principles. Rohr
builds his case by constructing a complex three-part agreement: 1) illustration that the
administrative state is compatible with the constitutional design envisioned by the founders; 2)
argument on what he referred to as Founding the Administrative State in Word; and 3)
argument on the New Dealers of the 1930s and their attempt to build a modern administrative
state. He concludes that the role of public bureaucracies is consistent with the intentions of the
founders. In pursuing this argument, he offers a normative theory of public administration that is
grounded in constitutional principles. Rohrs constitutional theory revolves around three major
themes: 1) public administrators have a moral obligation to preserve and sustain constitutional
principles; 2) public bureaucracies occupy a subordinate, yet autonomous position with respect
to the Congress, the president, and the courts; and 3) public bureaucracies exercise all three

powers of government. Rohrs constitutional theory gives public administrators an active

leadership role in governance.
The Representative Function of Bureaucracy
In his article The Representative Function of Bureaucracy: Public Administration in a
Constitutive Perspective, Brian J. Cook (1992) seeks to legitimate public bureaucracies by
drawing on Nancy L. Swartzs constitutive theory of representation as well as on arguments
offered by Rohr and others. The constitutive perspective focuses on what makes a polity. Cooks
main thesis is that although political foundings and popular representative elections have
constitutive qualities, it is important to acknowledge that all political institutions, including
public bureaucracies, possess such qualities as well. Cook concentrates on the Federalists
conception of representation. According to Cook, the Federalists feared that the citizenry would
succumb to passion and demagoguery rather than retain reason during heated debates on public
policy issues. Cook asserts that because of their participation in public policy debates, public
bureaucracies help ensure that reason will prevail.
Cook then proceed to illustrate the constitutive qualities of public bureaucracies by
linking administration to the separation-of-powers doctrine as interpreted by Jeffrey K. Tulis
(1987) in his work The Rhetorical Presidency. Guided by Tuliss arguments that the founders
divided power among the three branches of government to equip them to perform different
functions and to make effective governance more likely. Cook concludes that public
bureaucracies are best suited to fulfill the function of ensuring steady administration law.
Cook argues that public bureaucracies have constitutive qualities because they help form
or define the polity on an on-going basis in at least two ways: 1) they contribute to the
continuous process of determining and defining citizenship, and 2) they give substance and an
organized existence to the values, aspirations and purposes they help the citizenry articulate.
Cook makes a persuasive argument that public administrators share with all others in governing
the American Republic. These regime-sustaining tasks dictate the public administrators become
actively involved in governance the exclusive domain of leadership.
The Logic of a Constitution: Public Administration and the Checking of Power
In the article Legitimacy, History, and Logic: Public Administration and the
Constitution, Michael W. Spicer and Terry (1993) seek to legitimate the administrative state in
terms of the logic of a constitution. They argued that the method of emphatic understanding, an
approach to historical explanation used by Rohr and others to legitimate the administrative state,
is problematic because it fosters an incomplete and romanticized view of the founders. Instead,
they averred that their approach seeks to examine the role of public administration in light of the
logic or purpose of a constitution to explain the logic rather than the history of constitutions.
For Spicer and Terry, the logic of a constitution is the reason or reasons why a community of
rational individuals would agree in the first place to develop a constitution to guide their political
order at all. And there are two reasons for the establishment of a constitution: 1) rational

individuals agree to be bound by such rules because they want to limit the discretion of
government officials, and 2) because a great deal of uncertainty surrounds the effects of public
policies, rational individuals prefer constitutional rules that restrict the discretionary power of
government officials. Spicer and Terry conclude that public administrators have an active and
legitimate role in governance which permits them to sue their discretion to check the power of
elected political officials, especially if the exercise of such power leads to exploitation of citizens
or results in public policy errors. Although the logic of a constitution sanctions checking the
power of elected officials, Spicer and Terry quickly point out that this does not necessarily mean
that public administrators should disregard the dictates of political superiors. Nor does this mean
that the discretion of public administrators should go unchecked.
Because 1) the role of public bureaucracies in the American political system is consistent
with original constitutional principles, 2) public bureaucracies perform an important role in
sustaining such principles, and 3) public bureaucracies help form the character of citizenry as
well as contribute to the continuous process of shaping a political way of life, Terry argued that
public bureaucracies must be preserved so they can serve the public good. Thus, the primary
function of bureaucratic leaders is to protect and maintain administrative institutions in a manner
that promotes or is consistent with the constitutional processes, values, and beliefs. If this is
indeed the case, then leadership in administration of public bureaucracies is similar to what Carl
J. Friedrich (1961) describes as maintaining leadership. Grounded in this concept, then, public
administrators are administrative conservators.
The Concept of Administrative Conservatorship
Administrative conservatorship is statesmanship in the tradition of Edmund Burke
because it requires a disposition to preserve and an ability to improve. It is also an intellectual
progeny of the institutional leadership school in sociology, particularly as manifest in the work of
Philip Selznick (1957). Properly conceptualized, administrative conservatorship is the
willingness of administrative elites, out of traditional and moral principles, to preserve the
authority and distribution of power with regard to the propriety of an institutions existence, its
functional niche, and its collective institutional goals. In the final analysis, it is concerned with
the preservation of institutional integrity.
The term institution is consistent with the definition offered by institutional school
theorists and is best represented by the works of Selznick and W. Richard Scott (1995).
Organization is a rational means-oriented instrument guided by the cult of efficiency. Institution
is considered a creation of social needs and aspirations; it is an adaptive, responsive, cooperative
system that embodies cultural values. The cultural values and moral commitments of a society
are implanted in its institutions.
Institutional integrity is related to the notion of distinctive competence, the special
capacities, abilities, and proficiencies possessed by an agency in the performance of particular

functions. The notion of distinctive competence is the heart of institutional integrity. The word
integrity refers to the completeness, wholeness, and intact quality of an entity.
Administrative elites refer to those individuals or groups who are responsible for the
promotion and conservation of social values. Elites are public officials who are neither elected
not politically appointed but who hold administrative positions by virtue of merit system by
exercising their administrative discretion. As administrative elites, career civil servants are
responsible for the perpetuation and conservation of regime values that is values of the political
entity that was brought into being by ratification of the Constitution that created the present
American republic.
The perpetuation of cultural values depends on the security of key institutions. Ensuring
security of governmental institutions is the responsibility of public administrators because they
are vital in providing continuity and stability.
The efforts of administrative executives to preserve the integrity of public bureaucracies
afford them the distinction of being called administrative conservators. Administrative
conservatorship requires balancing the inherent tension in the political system between the need
to serve and the need to preserve. Public administrators must not be weak or subservient. Rather,
they must honorably hold up the administrative side of the government equation.
The concept of administrative conservatorship provides a valuable perspective by which
public administrators and others may view their administrative leadership role in the American
political system. It is offered as a means of restoring respectability to public administrators and
the public service. The concept of administrative conservatorship is also offered as a framework
for measuring administrative leadership effectiveness.

Terry presented with clarity the issues behind the neglect of bureaucratic leadership. He
was also successful in presenting evidences and explaining the reasons for the said neglect.
But on the other hand, his point and stand regarding bureaucracy and democracy as
contradictory seems unacceptable.