Still the century of bureaucracy?: the roles of public servants

B. Guy Peters


The civil service, and public employment more generally, is often seen as stable, predictable, and frankly rather boring. The public bureaucrat has been, and continues to be, an object of scorn as well as an easy target for humorists, and the task of implementing public policy continues to be seen as largely the same as it has been for decades or even centuries. Despite that apparent predictability, the job of the civil servant, as well as much of the environment within which he or she functions, has been transforming rapidly and the public sector is nothing like it was several decades ago. Intellectually, the consideration of public administration has also remained rather stable. Despite numerous changes in the public sector Max Weber’s conceptions of bureaucracy still constitute the starting point for most discussions (Derlien, 1999).


public servant; bureaucrat; manager; governance

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"Public Policy and Administration" ISSN online 2029-2872 / ISSN print 1648-2603