The Bureaucratic Challenge to Democratic Leadership

John Kane and Patapan Haig

in The Democratic Leader

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199650477
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191739071 | DOI:
The Bureaucratic Challenge to Democratic Leadership

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Modern democracies, despite ‘small government’ ideologies, have grown large because of the increasing democratization of society, which produces an enormous expansion of demand for services that democratic governments are obliged to try to meet. But bureaucracies, like democratic leaders, must be seen always to be the servants, not the masters, of the people. The democratic leader, though he or she does not own this complex instrument, must therefore control or manage it or be punished for its failures. The persistent tendency of bureaucracy to develop as an independent source of authority presents leaders with a perennial challenge. This chapter explores the historical attempts by democratic leaders to address this challenge, and the extent to which they have succeeded in mastering it.

Keywords: bureaucracy; accountability; efficiency; public service

Chapter.  7163 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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