Conclusion: Senior Officials in Western Europe

Edward C. Page and Vincent Wright

in Bureaucratic Elites in Western European States

Published in print December 1999 | ISBN: 9780198294467
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191600067 | DOI:
 Conclusion: Senior Officials in Western Europe

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The conclusion starts by noting that there are clearly highly diverse trends in the development of bureaucracy in Western Europe, and that, although in some countries patterns of change are quite distinct, change does not appear to have followed any one expected pattern or scale. It then looks at two central questions for the role of bureaucracy: its political controllability and efficiency. These enable us to point to differences in broad underlying principles that reflect how different countries have traditionally understood and dealt with these two central problems, allow us to make important distinctions between different forms of bureaucracies, and explore the causes and character of changes in the senior ranks of post‐war bureaucracies. The two central questions are then examined in sections on political control, performance, managerial changes, and changes in political control. The concluding section finds that there is a common theme underlying the development of relationships between bureaucratic and political elites that applies to most of the country studies: a deinstitutionalization or personalization of political trust. Understood as a question of trust, change in bureaucracy is linked to much wider political changes that have been identified outside the literature on bureaucracy.

Keywords: bureaucracy; bureaucratic elites; change; deinstitutionalization; development; efficiency; Europe; managerial changes; performance; personalization; political control; political elites; political trust; senior civil servants; senior civil service; Western Europe

Chapter.  6315 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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