Government » The American Bureaucracy » Understanding Bureaucracies and their Types

Summary of Understanding Bureaucracies and their Types


To understand why some bureaucracies act the way they do, sociologists have developed a handful of models. With the exception of the ideal bureaucracy described by Max Weber, these models see bureaucracies as self-serving. Harnessing self-serving instincts to make the bureaucracy work the way it was intended is a constant task for elected officials. One of the ways elected officials have tried to grapple with this problem is by designing different types of bureaucracies with different functions. These types include cabinet departments, independent regulatory agencies, independent executive agencies, and government corporations.

Practice Questions

  1. Briefly explain why government might create a government corporation.


1. Congress tends to create government corporations to perform services that respond to market forces but are too important to the public to be allowed to fail.


government corporation: a corporation that fulfills an important public interest and is therefore overseen by government authorities to a much larger degree than private businesses

red tape: the mechanisms, procedures, and rules that must be followed to get something done

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