What is the Role of Bureaucrats in Implementing Public Policy

What is the Role of Bureaucrats in Implementing Public Policy.

Epitome Source: https://rb.gy/hfkfcq

This article is written by

Komal Saloni

from Jamnalal Bajaj School of Legal Studies, Banasthali Vidyapith, and

Millia Dasgupta

from OP Jindal Global Police School. This is an exhaustive article that deals with hierarchy’southward office in forming and implementing policy in developing countries like India.


A policy makes our authorities run smoothly. Particularly in today’s world where everything has been put in a arrangement for it to run smoothly. When talking about policymaking, it would exist a fallacy to ignore the contributions made to policymaking past the bureaucracy. At present, the bureaucracy does non have a practiced name and for skilful reasons, but it would exist a mistake to ignore its influence. It was Alvin Toffler who stated that “
You may bash a bureaucrat or ban bureaucracy, but you cannot practice anything without bureaucracy, neither tin you do away with bureaucracy, for hierarchy has the stubborn survival capacity.”

In this article, the authors endeavour to sympathise what bureaucracy is and the very valid reasons for its negativity. We besides attempt to highlight why they play an important role in policymaking.


What is bureaucracy?

Bureaucracy is the permanent and professional person part of the executive fly of the government. Information technology is neutral and is not affected past the change of political parties. They are made of trained professionals, mainly trained in the expanse of civil service. In modern times, the give-and-take ‘bureaucratic’ is ordinarily used to describe the setup of the executive fly of whatsoever organization.

The bureaucracy runs according to laws and policies enacted. Work is based on efficiency and rationalization. Individuals such as civil servants, those in civil service, government servants, those in government service, officials of the government, permanent executive and non-political executive are unremarkably associated with bureaucracy.

Features of bureaucracy

Permanent character

Those who are bureaucrats hold permanent jobs till retirement. They do not change with the change of political parties.

Hierarchical arrangement

At that place is a construction where work is delegated to various subunits. Various individuals overlook the work of many and inside those units, some individuals expect over the piece of work of others. This forms a structure that is hierarchical where individuals not merely have more responsibleness but also have power over others inside the organization.

Non political in nature

They are not involved in politics and their job is not jeopardized with the modify in political parties. Despite the change in ability, they must stay true to the work assigned to them and deport it out diligently.

Professionally trained

Bureaucrats are professionally trained individuals who aid the executive carry out functions. They get training before they are appointed and are given the chore based on merit.

Fixed bacon

The members are given a fixed salary that is stock-still when given the job and is increased on promotion. Their bacon depends on their place in the hierarchical construction.

Bound by rules and regulations

The bureaucratic structure is extremely efficient and thus those within the structure need to adhere to strict rules. When carrying out their work, these rules and laws must be adhered to.

Functions of the hierarchy

  • They must carry out and implement the rules and laws implemented by the government. Such laws can only be fulfilled to their best capabilities if they are carried out properly.
  • They play an important part in policy formation. Despite the Executive (One of the main branches of the regime) being the ane who enacts the police force, it is the bureaucracy that provides data to executives formulating the laws. They also play an important role in analyzing the typhoon of laws, providing merits, demerits and alternatives to the bills.
  • While the executive enacts laws to guide the authorities, it is the bureaucrats who do the government’s bodily work.
  • Bureaucrats play a major role in advising political executives. Due to the permanent nature of the job and the fact that they are skilled professionals, they take the advantage of experience and skill over newly-elected ministers. Thus, they are good sources of advice and guidance to ministers.
  • While it is the legislature that passes the law. It is the bureaucracy that drafts them. Thus, they play an important role in lawmaking.
  • They also have semi-judicial roles to play. With authoritative justice becoming more than popular and with the increase of dispute resolution under the executive, bureaucrats perform the chore of dispute resolution through the grant of permits, license, taxation concessions, etc.
  • Bureaucrats play an important function in financial administration through various roles. They advise ministers on aspects such equally fiscal planning and tax structure. They as well play a vital function in budget and revenue enhancement proposals and preparing them. They as well carry out granting of financial benefits, tax reliefs and other concessions to citizens.
  • They play an important role in record-keeping which is essential to the smooth running of the bureaucratic structure.
  • They are agents that help the executive maintain adept relations with the public. They communicate decisions of the government to the people and on the other mitt communicate the needs, interests and concerns of the people to the government.
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Theorists and bureaucracy

Max Weber

Information technology was Max Weber who propounded ‘
Max Weber’southward Theory of Hierarchy
’ when he noticed that a new form of bureaucracy was emerging in the nineteenth century. Earlier, leadership was derived from charisma and tradition. The new form of bureaucracy was more ‘rational’ as compared to the previous system. In the case of charismatic potency, subjects followed their leaders out of loyalty, respect and even devotion. With regards to traditional authority, people merely obeyed the leader because of the leader’s historical power and that his lineage has been in a position of power for so long. According to Weber, the new bureaucracy was more rational as when they ruled, they ruled according to principles of rationality, logic and efficiency. This rule derived its power from rules and police and these laws were formulated keeping in listen the all-time possible consequence. This new bureaucracy was more efficient as it was allowed to personal biases such every bit the result of irrationality and emotion.

According to him, there are iii main features of the bureaucracy-

  • A formal and unambiguous hierarchical structure of ability and authority.
  • An elaborate, rationally derived and systematic division of labour.
  • Individuals governed by a set of general, formal, explicit, exhaustive and largely stable rules that were impersonally applied in decision making. All decisions and communications are recorded in permanent files.

He also noted that the bureaucrats are selected based on their qualifications and not because of nepotism and that they were appointed and not elected. They were besides compensated with a remuneration. The finish goal of hierarchy was to maximize efficiency.


Despite Weber’s praise for hierarchy, nowadays, the give-and-take bureaucratic has a negative connotation to it. Today’south concept of bureaucracy is opposite to what Weber thought, which was an extremely efficient system. He was also aware of the downfalls of his ideas and recognized that hierarchy tends to put excessive control on its employees and put them in an ‘iron cage’. He also admitted that if the bureaucracy becomes more powerful than the society, it will go self-serving instead of serving order.

Other Scholars have as well criticized Weber’due south perception of hierarchy.

RK Merton

believed that hierarchy tended to foster goal displacement which is the strict adherence to rules and laws which prevents organizations from achieving the actual goal sought out. The obsession with rules leads organizations to even apply rules to undesirable situations, causing more than harm than adept.

P Selznick

stated that bureaucracies tended to sub-optimize which is extreme delegation of work to numerous sub-units of the organization which resulted in these subunits pursuing goals completely dissimilar from what is envisioned past the organization as a whole.

Burns and Stalker

stated that extremely bureaucratic organizations did not adapt well to modify.

Alvin Ward Gouldner

stated that the obsession with rules led to members of the organization following the least possible rules to get by, thus fostering a culture where doing the bare minimum was accepted.

Peter Blau

stated that bureaucracy gave extreme power to those who knew how to ‘play by the rules, thus giving unprecedented power to those who were not the most deserving only those who know how to play the game the all-time.

Michel Foucault

Foucault is ane of the most well renowned modern-solar day thinkers and his perception of modern-day structures and bureaucracy has inverse the way we run into hierarchy to this twenty-four hours. According to

Michel Foucault
, the modern-twenty-four hours structure of bureaucracy is not powerful because of the people who get in function, but considering of the institution itself. It becomes more powerful than the individual and controls the fashion they human activity. To understand his concept he brings forth the concept of the “Panopticon”, a prison construction introduced by Bentham. The Panopticon was a prison house structure where at that place was a tower in the middle and the cells were built around the tower and facing it. In this model, members of the prison cell did not collaborate with each other and were confronted with the towers 24/7.

When Bentham put frontward this thought, he wanted to create a structure that was so efficient that information technology did not matter who operated it, the structure would always work. According to Foucault, our modern-twenty-four hour period club is also structured like this where technological advancement and surveillance agencies follow our every movement which forces us to deed in a certain way. While the discussion of modern-day surveillance, internalization of rules and penalisation is a whole other word, we shall talk about bureaucracy today. The Panopticon is similar to the idea of subject area within the bureaucratic structure and its strictness with rules. According to Foucault, bureaucracy contributes to the supremacy of the system and individuals who are a part of this must act according to the machine and non what they experience is best. For example, bureaucrats say they are just ‘doing their chore’ or ‘they are just a cog in the motorcar’. Modern-solar day hierarchy turns real people into paperwork and statistics. Also despite major revolutions and the need for change, the bureaucratic organisation stays the aforementioned. For example, after the fall of Nazi Germany, the general bureaucratic structure of the authorities that was operational during the times of the Nazi’due south stayed the same.

Role of the bureaucrats and policy implementation

Bureaucracy is the social instrument that could bridge the gap between legislative purpose and its accomplishment. Bureaucratic control over policy implementation is important whether extending from the virtual revocation of some legislation to the limited discretion involved in governing a comprehensive statute, even so, discretion is involved in every case.

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Public policies are established, implemented and assessed past public officials and governmental institutions duly authorized or specifically established to practise so. The relationship between policy-makers (the legislature or the ministers), and policy implementers (the bureaucrats as well equally governmental and not-governmental institutions) probably influences the policy implementation.

The institutions established specially for policy implementation, namely, country departments, the courts and quasi-autonomous institutions, have greater contact with the public through their executive activities. The bureaucrats in this are recognized to exist the bureau of the government for providing the benefits of legislation to the public through the implementation of various policies, which are established by the governmental agencies timely.

The bureaucrats play a very important role in policy implementation which helps build the credibility of political executives in the eyes of the mutual people. Implementing such a policy involves several steps. It is very of import to study and analyze the statement of the policy which is going to be implemented and and so determine whether executors should go alee with the implementation or non, as prescribed.

Implementation should be a problem-tracing and fact-finding exercise. The bureaucrats play a double act by performing the ‘output’ functions of executing policies and programmes and the ‘input’ functions, which chronicle not simply to policy-making merely also to influencing public attitude towards the regime.

The important duties of the bureaucrats are to:

  1. Execute policies and orders, equally prescribed by the government,
  2. Maintain and follow the order of the overall administrative appliance which falls within its official duty, and
  3. To suggest the political executive regarding rules and regulations of process, etc.

Some relevant issues decided during the policy-making stage itself past the ministers and bureaucrats are:

  •  the problems that could be encountered in policy implementation,
  • the resource that would be needed for execution,
  • the piece of work mechanism and nature of policy execution and agencies to be involved in.

However, information technology tin can be said that the public policy legislation becomes important only when efficiently implemented, ordinarily past the bureaucrat. His actions or non-intervention can, consequently, seriously execute or forbid the success of a item policy. Although the successful implementation of policy depends on the insight of the official.

The decisions of the bureaucrats concerning policy implementation are limited to decisions that correspond to the political policy of the nowadays government. Whatever the bureaucrats determine should, if possible, be in a manner which the minister would have taken if he were personally implementing the policy.

In other words, it can be said that the bureaucrats are expected to implement policies with the same goodwill as the minister and to perform services to provide results to the public irrespective of personal enmity or prejudices.

Considering that the bureaucrats e’er administrate their tasks in a political milieu, all their decisions are a mixture of political and administrative attentiveness, the bureaucrats cannot separate themselves from the political credo of the government of the twenty-four hour period; neither can they split up themselves from the policies incorporated in legislation. The practise of discretionary power gives them a chance to examine the perusal of policy goals to which they are opposed. Hence, they are in a position to delay the implementation of policies, or only partly implement them.

The bureaucracy makes the policy objectives transparent to the citizens and encourages them to attach to the policies. Such an endeavour smoothens the task of policy implementation. While implementing policies, the bureaucrats have direct powers because of the complexities of the modern authorities and administration, they are conferred with the correct to practise discretion in the execution of policy. Information technology is oft found that both the political leadership and the citizens arraign the permanent executive for the absence of proper execution of the policies. On the other hand, the bureaucrats experience that they practice not get acceptable support and assistance from the political executive.

In practice, it is accepted that the bureaucrat is the instigator in policy implementation, while the concluding policy decisions are in the domain of the minister. The continued exposure of the bureaucrats to political matters and their expert knowledge of specific public issues, helps them, in due class, to learn to answer questions related to policy in such a way that the material they provide to their ministers tin exist advantageously used to defend a policy in Parliament and elsewhere. In practise, this means that the bureaucrats participate in defending the policy of the government, irrespective of the party in power.

Thus, the bureaucrats have been referred to equally permanent politicians, whose opinions are remarkably of import in modern-24-hour interval government, and as an expert, he is a co-ruler in the assistants. This could lead to a position where the ministers rely on the bureaucrats, in that the minister is not fully conversant with all the aspects of policy either because of non taking cognizance of the results of policy monitoring or because of existence new to the office.

Development and bureaucracy

Evolution means a defined phase of growth. It also means increased economic efficiency and extension of productive volumes. Although, when we discuss development, our main concern is economical evolution. But in a real sense development is a broad term. It includes social, cultural as well equally political evolution. Information technology has been found that when improvement in all these compasses takes place we call it development.

“Evolution is a multi-dimensional process that unremarkably connotes modify from a less to a more desirable state.”

-Oxford Curtailed Dictionary of Politics

Afterwards Earth War II (1939-45) many countries of Asia and Africa succeeded in political independence. But only a few years after their independence, they discerned that this political liberty couldn’t ensure economical evolution. These states shortly realized that fifty-fifty sufficient investment cannot bring about progress in the economic sector. Simultaneously, streamlining the administration is of import; both investment and assistants are equally answerable for development. When the question of administration comes into the calorie-free, bureaucracy invades into the film.

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Bureaucracy in developing countries similar India

Bureaucracy is called the sovereign cistron, manpower management, labour welfare management, personnel direction in public administration. But bureaucracy has a deeper meaning; it deals with nomenclature, promotion, recruitment, compensation, retirement benefits and discipline of the personnel in government.

Office of bureaucracy in developing countries like India

Implementation of policy

It is the fundamental function of civil servants. They administer laws and policies to achieve the welfare state goals: social, equitable and economic development, and then on.

Conception of policy

Formulation of Policy is the function of the political executive. But ceremonious servants have also come to perform a part in it. Political executives being laymen unable to understand the technical complexities of policies and hence depend upon the expert advice in which the civil servants aid and propose the ministers in policymaking.

Delegated Legislation

The aforementioned is a quasi-legislative function performed by the civil servants. Accordingly, the legislative body drafts laws and delegates power to the executive trunk to elaborate and expand the details because of the shortage of time, work pressure level and increased complexities of the legislation. Hence, Civil servants present the sub-laws, rules and regulations, within the boundaries of the parent statutes enacted by the legislature. Delegated legislation is also understood as subordinate legislation or executive legislation.

Administrative Arbitrament

In this, the civil servants resolve the disputes between the citizens and the state. For this purpose, the Administrative Tribunals are established where judges hold the ability. The Income Tax Appellate Tribunal, Rent Tribunals, Industrial Tribunals and Railway Rates Tribunals are few examples of such tribunals in India. These tribunals are also in office only outside the ordinary courts.

Inadequacies of the bureaucracy in policymaking in developing Countries

  1. Ceremonious Servants face up serious challenges in controlling the changing interfaces between Government and citizens.
  2. Understanding between senior civil servants and politicians is inadequate, with frequent complicated issues and challenging circumstances, the inputs made by the professional person’s (civil servants) are non qualified and the conflict arises with the top administrators.
  3. Rapid variations in states require more than innovative ideas which are non sufficiently approaching from top civil servants.
  4. Changes in scientific discipline and technology and their far-reaching connection to all aspects of social club are raising problems that senior civil servants are quite incapable of agreement.

Changing office of hierarchy

Throughout the British government, Indian Ceremonious Service officers aggregated the main part of Indian bureaucracy and they were mainly concerned with the constancy of law and order. British rulers had no plan to make India economically efficient and contained. Generally, hierarchy’s role in economical development during British rule was practically a non-result.

It was greatly felt that also the maintenance of law and lodge bureaucracy has another very important task and this is to reach targets of development. This is known as the changing role of hierarchy.

Multifaceted Role

Bureaucracy plays a major office in the development of a country and the role is multifaceted:

  1. Development needs continuity in efforts and administration. In case of a suspension, the development process and piece of work volition be affected. For this reason, it is stated that hierarchy must replenish leadership for the development piece of work.
  2. It is significant to coordinate between the diverse departments of public assistants and coordination between private and public assistants for development.
  3. To change the role of hierarchy information technology is necessary to restructure society.


Bureaucracy plays dynamic roles in the way they influence policymaking and despite one’s opinions on what type of influence they have, it would be a error to say that they have no influence. Just despite this massive body working tirelessly to amend policy, it seems that in today’s day and age, government action is overturned by political bias and ideology. If you do not have a good ability to back the policies you lot desire to implement, then it does not matter how proficient they are, they will fail to exist passed by the legislature. This is the reverse of what Webber wanted and what Foucault warned us of. The work of trained professional individuals is overpowered past the political leader. Thus, it is important to revamp the system so that bureaucrats go back their identity, which is of an impartial regime-run, non-partisan body. Policies that they must abide by and they must assistance enact must non take the political colour information technology is being afflicted by in today’s times.


It is ended that bureaucracy has come under ascension criticism over the final few years. Experts accept pointed to inefficiency, corruption, delay, incompetence and inadequate standards of professionalism. Finally, it can be said that enhancement of the skills of senior civil servants does take time and is not a matter of development but of organizational settings, working arrangements etc., without political assistance and much active cooperation of top administrators, less can be done.


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What is the Role of Bureaucrats in Implementing Public Policy

Source: https://blog.ipleaders.in/role-bureaucracy-policy-formulation-policy-implementation-developing-countries/

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