Governance Through Political Bureaucracy: An Agency Approach

29 Pages Posted: 9 Dec 2016

See all articles by Maurice Yolles

Maurice Yolles

John Moores University - Centre for the Creation of Coherent Change and Knowledge (C4K)

Date Written: June 2016


Political administrations, whether for a nation state or a corporation and no matter if despotic or democratic, normally generate rational policies that arise from their context-sensitive goals. The capability of an administration to develop and implementation policies is measured as efficacy, which can influence the value and stability of an administration. However, policy development and implementation is not only an attribute of a political administration, but also of its bureaucracy. The natures of, and connection between, a political administration and its bureaucracy is important if one is interested in creating a comparative measure of that efficacy across administrations or political systems. A traditional blueprint model of a bureaucracy comes from Weber, seen to be a servicing body for the implementation of political policy decisions resulting from a process of governance. An alternative model arises from the fictional works of Kafka, which is underpinned by a firm conceptual basis of a bureaucracy that confronts that of Weber. This paper explores the nature of bureaucracies, representing them as complex and dynamic. Agency theory will be used to model bureaucracies, and comparisons will be made between the Weber and Kafka conceptualisation. The outcome suggests that any attempts to measure comparative efficacy across political systems or administrations may well lead to failure due to the distinctions in the nature of the bureaucracies that they maintain.

Keywords: Political administration, Bureaucracy, Weber, Kafka, dynamic, cultural agency theory

Suggested Citation

Yolles, Maurice, Governance Through Political Bureaucracy: An Agency Approach (June 2016). Available at SSRN: or

Maurice Yolles (Contact Author)

John Moores University - Centre for the Creation of Coherent Change and Knowledge (C4K) ( email )

Liverpool John Moores University
United Kingdom

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