Zachary W. Oberfield's Becoming Bureaucrats: Socialization at the Front Lines of PDF

By Zachary W. Oberfield

Bureaucrats are vital symbols of the governments that hire them. opposite to renowned stereotypes, they make certain a lot concerning the means coverage is eventually enacted and skilled by way of voters. whereas we all know greatly approximately bureaucrats and their activities, we all know little approximately their improvement. Are certain types of individuals attracted to executive paintings, or are govt employees cast by means of the businesses they paintings in? positioned easily, are bureaucrats born, or are they made?

In Becoming Bureaucrats, Zachary W. Oberfield strains the trails of 2 units of public servants—police officials and welfare caseworkers—from their first day at the task during the finish in their moment yr. reading unique info derived from surveys and in-depth interviews, besides ethnographic observations from the author's yr of teaching and paintings as a welfare caseworker, Becoming Bureaucrats charts how public-sector entrants improve their bureaucratic identities, motivations, and attitudes. starting from person tales to population-wide statistical research, Oberfield's examine complicates the long-standing cliché that bureaucracies churn out bureaucrats with mechanical potency. He demonstrates that entrants' bureaucratic personalities advanced yet remained strongly tied to the perspectives, identities, and reasons that they articulated on the outset in their carrier. As such, he argues that who bureaucrats turn into and, for that reason, how bureaucracies functionality, relies strongly on styles of self-selection and recruitment.

Becoming Bureaucrats not just enriches our theoretical knowing of bureaucratic habit but in addition offers useful recommendation to elected officers and public managers on development responsive, liable workforces.

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Extra info for Becoming Bureaucrats: Socialization at the Front Lines of Government Service

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If these are the psychological foundations upon which bureaucratic personalities are erected, it would seem unlikely that entrants would radically change after entry. Personality One of the concepts that undergirds the dispositional perspective is personality—­a core idea used by psychologists to explain human psychology and behavior. Though there are varied definitions, personality is generally understood as the psychological tendencies that people have and the processes they use to integrate new experiences (Costa and McCrae 1994).

Bureaucracies are orienting machines. They have the capacity to channel action and to transform individual into collective conscience. The existing stock of knowledge, the understanding of what constitutes proper means and ends, and the symbolic significance of events were organizationally situated. (Barnett 1999, 7) Across the social sciences there is support for this basic view (Arendt 1963; Hummel 1982; Kelman and Hamilton 1990; Lipsky 1980; H. Simon 1997). In effect, 22671 Dispositions and Institutions 31 this position is rooted in a Weberian expectation that working in a bureaucracy changes people in fundamental ways.

The existing stock of knowledge, the understanding of what constitutes proper means and ends, and the symbolic significance of events were organizationally situated. (Barnett 1999, 7) Across the social sciences there is support for this basic view (Arendt 1963; Hummel 1982; Kelman and Hamilton 1990; Lipsky 1980; H. Simon 1997). In effect, 22671 Dispositions and Institutions 31 this position is rooted in a Weberian expectation that working in a bureaucracy changes people in fundamental ways. Such accounts also implicitly invoke social identity theory—­as individuals move from “out-­group” to “in-­group,” they adopt the in-­group as a reference for social comparison and take on its views as their own (Wood 2000).

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