Sample Term Paper
The paper should answer the following: A unique feature of Wilson’s analysis is his emphasis on a “bottom-up” assessment of government agencies, focusing on agency tasks and the relationship of the tasks to goal attainment and client satisfaction. Such an unconventional view will inevitably produce some surprising insights into bureaucratic power and administrative behavior. Select one agency group of interest to you: operators, managers, or executives. According to Wilson, how does the group decide what to do in the agency? What are new insights into bureaucratic behavior contributed by this type of analysis?
I have selected managers as the group that I am concerned with. Suppose that you were just appointed the head of the Watertown office of the DMV and you wanted to improve service there so that more nearly approximated the service at McDonald’s. Better service might well require spending more money (on clerks, equipment, and buildings). Why should your political superior give you that money? It is a cost if it requires spending more money (on clerks, equipment, and buildings). Why should your political superiors give you that money?
It is a cost to them if it requires either higher taxes or taking funds from another agency; offsetting these real and immediate costs are dubious and postponed benefits. If lines become shorter and clients become happier, no legislator will benefit. There may be fewer complaints, but complaints are episodic and have little effect on the career of any given legislator. By contrast, shorter lines and faster service at McDonald means more customers can be served per hour. A McDonald’s manager can estimate the marginal product of the last dollar he or she spends on improving service; the Register manager can generate a tangible return on any expenditure he or she makes and thus cannot easily justify the expenditure.
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