Cover image for Bureaucracy and democracy : accountability and performance
Bureaucracy and democracy : accountability and performance
Gormley, William T., Jr., 1950-
Publication Information:
Washington, D.C. : CQ Press, [2004]

Physical Description:
xv, 215 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
Bureaucracies as policymaking organizations -- Bureaucratic reasoning -- The bureaucracy's bosses -- The bureaucracy's clients -- Networks -- Bringing the theoretical frameworks together : four bureaucracies in action -- Why are some bureaucracies better than others?
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JK421 .G6447 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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How should your students understand the role of bureaucracy in American democracy? With a focus on accountability, this work examines the factors that ultimately lead to bureaucratic successes and shortcomings.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Gormley and Balla (both, George Washington Univ.) have written an excellent introductory volume on public administration in the US. Much material is presented in short compass. The themes of accountability and performance in particular are emphasized. The authors lay out many basic ideas made richer by plentiful illustrations, agency case studies, and boxed quotes obtained from interviews conducted by the authors with four former cabinet members. Four theories--bounded rationality, principal-agent theory, interest group mobilization, and network theory--provide intellectual structure. A chapter is devoted to each theory, especially as it bears on performance and accountability. While the authors find these theories interesting for analysis, they conclude they are of mixed value in explaining bureaucracy or prescribing for it. Using "report card" grades on performance by several federal agencies as a point of departure, the book concludes by speculating on what variables seem to be associated with high and low grades. The volume is balanced in its assessment of bureaucracy, giving credit where credit is due but pointing out weaknesses. For study purposes, key terms are listed at the conclusion of each chapter. An appendix of Web sites, with annotations, is also provided. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. General readers and lower- and upper-division undergraduates. C. T. Goodsell emeritus, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University