Administrative Discretion - Summary

Topics: Bureaucracy, Max Weber, Public administration Pages: 6 (743 words) Published: November 11, 2012
Running Head: Administrative Discretion 1

Administrative Discretion

Joy M. Stiles

Grantham University

Administrative Discretion 2


To understand what the advantages and disadvantages to restriction of laid down rules for

Public Administration, one should look at the views of Max Weber and of the more modern

thinkers of our society. At the time of Weber’s life, society was different; his ideas made sense

and worked smoothly. Realities of our society have changed greatly since then. We have

expanded and now have communication with our citizens that we did not have before. As you

will see in my discussion there are advantages and disadvantages of restrictions for our rules in

public administration. You will also see that I believe that in today’s government there is a need

for some discretion.

Administrative Discretion 2


Max Weber believed in “Leveling of the governed”; that meaning that government should be

administered by bureaucratic experts. This meant that there would be an “officially” authorized

method of disciple. The rules were black and white with no gray areas. His rationality was that

this provided protections and accountability by the structure and restrictions of these set rules.

He believed this system of rules secured the equal and fair right and guidelines for all in the

process of government bureaucracy. At the time, this system worked. Society was new and we

did not have the communication and the involvement of citizens that we have today.

The advantages of restricted rules of administration are the administrators weren’t required to

think outside the box. With the restrictions it provided protection for impartial courts and

administration, but it was a mechanical concept. This made life easier, but was it fair? Maybe in

the beginning it worked.

As our society evolves, so do the circumstances and situations that arise. Rarely is a situation

clear cut; there are gray areas. Experience comes in to play and develop relevant communication

to our legislative rules. Our public institutions and our citizens play a role in our government for

our principle goal, “Democracy”. Our laws should be based on rational decision making

processes. As was discussed in previous lessons, public administration is more successful when

integrated with political views. Citizens should be actively engaged in our legislative activities

and policies. Through administration and political activities the decision making provides checks

and balances for government bureaucracy.

In a previous case study 5, “Wichita Confronts Contamination”; it showed how public

Administrative Discretion 3

administration alone would not have provided the best solution for this issue. Had they followed

the letter of the law, it would not have factored in the consideration of the citizens for property

values, the economy would have suffered. The costs of cleanup and reports and time involved

would also have been greater. This city would have been ruined economically. The city manager

was able to make several plans involving bankers, the corporation that primary did caused the

contamination and various city officials. It was also able to work the issue through the KDHE

keeping the EPA informed. Legislation was still involved as well as the city manager, legal

counsel, city council, school board, lenders, city commission, EPA, KDHE, and...
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