Bureaucracy to Postbureaucracy: The Consequences of Political Failures Chapter uri icon


  • Pathologies inherent in democratic political systems have consequences for bureaucracy, and they need to be examined. Limited in time, resources, and expertise, elected officials turn to bureaucratic institutions to carry out policy goals but all too often give public agencies too little support or too few resources to implement them effectively. In response to the challenges imposed by politics, public agencies have sought organizational solutions. Bureaucracies facing shortages of material resources, clear goals, representation of minority interests, or public trust have in recent decades adopted less hierarchical structures, exploited networks and privatization, and taken a representative role. In other words, the evolution of postbureaucratic governance institutions is in part a consequence of political incentives. Efforts to diagnose and resolve many of the shortcomings attributed to bureaucracy therefore require an accounting of the political processes shaping the context in which public managers and bureaucrats operate.

author list (cited authors)

  • Compton, M. E., & Meier, K. J.

citation count

  • 4

complete list of authors

  • Compton, Mallory E||Meier, Kenneth J

Book Title

  • Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Business and Management

publication date

  • July 2017