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Bureaucratic Politics Impact on Decision-Making Expository Essay


Bureaucratic politics, as well as organizational dynamics are characterized by a long, categorized, and non-essential political process that involves too many players before a decision is made.

As a matter of fact, bureaucratic politics and organizational dynamics’ time consumption are disadvantageous to the political players and the political playing field, as it slows down the process and does not serve to protect or respect the best interests of a nation.

Welch (1992, 125) notes that information on Soviet missiles launched in Cuba was brought to the attention of President Kennedy on October 14, instead of three weeks earlier as a result of the routines and processes of in the organizations that made up the U.S. intelligence community.

Often, the political leadership of a nation is faced with decisions that require fast determination and arrival at timely decisions, lest the agenda of the decision is rendered nugatory. These decisions require fast thinking, reasoning, and determination.

However, long and bureaucratic processes negate this aspect and deal with such matters too procedurally. Such slowing down of the processes brings about a lot of negative effects on the analysis of the situations and decision making is made ineffective in some circumstances (Bendor and Hammond 1992, 305).

Besides, bureaucratic politics and structural dynamics may make a nation’s political players arrive at wrong decisions in their quest to adhere and follow the requisite channels of procedure.

As Preston and Hart (1990, 50) note, after the first incursion of South Korea by North Korea in 1950, President Harry S. Truman dispersed a memo to his staff detailing the changes that he decided to carry out in the arrangement and working of the presidential advisory group.

He no longer wished to receive proposals on policies regarding Korea. Instead, he ordered that such proposals be taken to him through the National Security Council body. He additionally restructured his advisory team to a limited number of trusted officials to carry out policy formulation.

The restructuring of the advisory arrangement brought about a lot of bureau-political struggle amongst factions in government, leading to a fundamentally incorrect set of recommendations being presented back to Truman.

Thus, it is undeniable that the longevity of a bureaucratic process of politics and structural dynamics will not only impact the political process by slowing it down, but it will similarly lead to confusion and incorrectness in arriving at decisions (Preston and Hart 90, 51).

Additionally, bureaucratic politics and the structural dynamic have an impact on the costs incurred in decision making, as well as policy formulation. One might argue that a single-time-period model is appropriate for crises. However, even in a crisis, the effects of options may be spread over multiple time periods.

Consider, for example, President Kennedy’s concern for the United States’ international reputation for firmness and resolve; such reputational consequences may endure for years. In estimating the consequences of any option that a government might choose, the same is to be done rationally in consideration of the costs to be incurred and the benefits enjoyed.

The benefits are spread over a long period (Bendor and Hammond 1992, 308). The application of a bureaucratic process in policy and decision making generally involves the coordinated work of a number of offices that are to be involved in rendering the decisions, instead of relying on a single entity to make decisions.

As is to be expected, the running of such many offices and personnel consumes many resources from the coffers of a nation, which deplete a lot of financial resources from a country’s treasury (Welch 1992, 114).

However, bureaucratic politics and structural dynamics may also be said to be beneficial to the government’s analysis and decision-making process to a lesser extent.

This argument is based on the fact that bureaucracy respects legal processes stipulated for due decision making, thereby promoting democratic governance, transparency, and accountability. Additionally, it promotes the working culture of the teamwork spirit, where persons are united in the engagement of the task of decision making.

Reference List

Bendor, Jonathan and Thomas Hammond T. 1992. “Rethinking Allison’s Models.” American Political Science Review 86, no. 2 (June): 301-322.

Preston, Thomas and Paul ‘t Hart. 1990. “Understanding and Evaluating Bureaucratic Politics: The Nexus between Political Leaders and Advisory.” Political Psychology 20, no. 1 (March): 49-98.

Welch, David A. 1992. “The Organizational Process and Bureaucratic Politics Paradigms: Retrospect and Prospect.” International Security 17, no. 2 (Fall): 112-146.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "Bureaucratic Politics Impact on Decision-Making." June 23, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/bureaucratic-politics-impact-on-decision-making/.

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IvyPanda. (2019) 'Bureaucratic Politics Impact on Decision-Making'. 23 June.

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