Upper Left Quadrant Details Upper Right Quadrant Details Lower Left Quadrant Details Lower Right Quadrant Details Details



Bureaucracy could be social science's first experience with jargon -- the invention of a word to meet a specific need. Two roots form the concept: "bureau", which means office or desk; and "cracy", which means rule or government. Bureaucracy simply means a form of government by offices and desks.
The horizontal axis refers to the variation of bureaucratic authority, from monocratic rule in ancient kingdoms and modern presidencies to the impersonal command of the state. The vertical axis introduces two main options, and channels, through which bureaucracies can be created: patronage and elite.
The upper right quadrant captures the main characteristics of the Weberian idealtype. The means through which the bureaucratic elite excercises its collective authority are strictly defined by public and administrative law. Because of its superior function, the administrative elite enjoys a privileged status, turning into a closed estate, with social prerogatives and esoteric language. Which leaves the question open as to whom, and how, is the bureaucratic estate to be responsible. The lower left quadrant shows how democratic theory - and practice - was to confront the issue. American Presidents were the first ones to publicly declarie that "to the victors belong the spoils". Party bureaucracy - or a "state of parties" - was the first systematic response offered by the practice of democracy to the risks of bureaucratic autocracy. However, much as the spoil system is being reintroduced in modern governments through more qualified and professionalized channels, political patronage can only reach into a limited number of higher posts, hardly scratching the surface of the bureaucratic iceberg. If leaders really want to make a more diffused and lasting impact on the policy process, the alternative they are left with is to fight the bureaucratic Leviathan on their own grounds, launching an overarching reform campaign (ULQ). The lower right quadrant describes changes and adjustments occurring within the administrative process in order to adapt it to social and economic pressures, consisting of a contractual relationship between bureaucracy and various corporate actors as a substitute for bureaucracy's direct intervention and implementation: a modern form of clientele covering a wide spectrum of groups and associations under the firm protection of a legal agreement.