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Plan for Today: Organizational Process and Bureaucratic Politics

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Title: Plan for Today: Organizational Process and Bureaucratic Politics


1
Plan for TodayOrganizational Process and
Bureaucratic Politics
  1. Finish introducing decisionmaking approaches.
  2. Principles and case examples of
  3. Organizational process theory.
  4. Bureaucratic politics theory.

2
Decisionmaking ApproachesOrganizational Process
and Bureaucratic Politics
3
Decisionmaking ApproachesLimits to Rationality
  • Personality disorders decisionmakers may be
    nuts!!
  • E.g. Saddam Hussein as an egomaniac. George W.
    Bush as beholden to father or evangelical
    fanatic.

4
Decisionmaking ApproachesLimits to Rationality
  • Human cognition is limited.
  • Human beings imperfect and biased in processing
    information.
  • Examples
  • Prospect theory people hate losses more than
    like gains.
  • Jervis People overestimate extent to which
    others actions are a response to them.

5
Decisionmaking ApproachesLimits to Rationality
  • Huge complexity of decisions parceled out to
    complex organizations.
  • Organizations act according to preset
    repertoires.
  • Organizations occupied by ambitious individuals.

6
Decisionmaking ApproachesTwo Branches of Theory
  1. Organizational process theory. Focuses on the
    processes at work through standard operating
    procedures in government and even weapons
    systems.
  2. Bureaucratic politics. Focuses on the clash among
    bureaucratic actors with conflicting interests.

7
Organizational Process TheorySetting in Context
  • Allison article shows differences among
  • Realist or rationalist perspective (Model I)
  • Organizational process theory (Model II) and
  • Bureaucratic politics (Model III).

(Models II III are decisionmaking approaches)
8
Organizational Process TheorySetting in Context
  1. Model I Rational Policy or Rational Actor Model.
  2. Outcomes of international politics as rational
    choices of unified national governments.
  3. States completely informed, utility-maximizing
    actors, and react strategically to events.
  4. Obvious identification with realist and
    neoliberal approaches.

9
Organizational Process TheorySetting in Context
  • Model II Organizational Process.
  • Ontology Governments as conglomerate of
    semi-feudal, loosely allied organizations.
  • Causal argument Standard operating procedures
    imperfect information ? government organizations
    ? suboptimal or unintended policy outputs.

10
Organizational Process Theory How do
Organizations Work? (Allison Model II)
  1. Primary responsibility for particular areas
    necessarily divided.
  2. Several organizations within government acting at
    same time, only partially coordinated, to respond
    to problems.

11
Organizational Process TheoryHow do
Organizations Work? (Allison Model II)
  • Governments define alternatives through standard
    operating procedures (SOPs).
  • Each organization has limited set of SOPs.
  • Orgs satisfice use first minimally acceptable
    SOP.
  • More complex organization, more it relies on
    SOPs.
  • Organizations slow to change SOPs to react to new
    situations.

12
Organizational Process Theory Sagans Depiction
of Organizational Failures
  • Theory of normal accidents (Perrow) Errors and
    accidents will be normal occurrence in complex
    and tightly-coupled systems.
  • complexity how many interrelated branches of
    activity coming together to create outcome?
  • coupling how much time available between steps
    to fix problems?

13
Organizational Process Theory Classification of
Organizational Systems/ Processes
LINEAR COMPLEX
TIGHTLY COUPLED Steel mill Nuclear power plant Nuclear weapons systems
LOOSELY COUPLED Department of Motor Vehicles Revenue Canada Universities
14
Organizational Process Theory Classification
of Organizational Systems/ Processes
  • Nuclear weapons systems and nuclear war plans are
    examples of complex, tightly-coupled systems.
  • E.g. Organizational mistakes during Cuban Missile
    Crisis
  • American U2 spy plane lost in Soviet airspace.
  • SAC loaded nukes and conducted scheduled missile
    test.

15
Bureaucratic Politics (Allison Model III)
  • Bureaucratic politics regularized bargaining
    among players positioned hierarchically within
    government.
  • Different from organizational process
    perspective not routines or failures of systems.

16
Bureaucratic Politics(Allison Model III)
  1. Ontology leaders of organizations within
    government are key actors, because occupy
    critical positions.
  2. Causal argument Outcomes result of bargaining
    among competitive actors, rather than outputs
    from limited organizational routines.

17
Bureaucratic Politics (Allison Model III)
  • Overlap with organizational process theory Each
    department or division will have its own biases
    derived from set of SOPs.
  • SOPs structure the game by pre-determining major
    players and how they can enter game.

18
Bureaucratic Politics(Allison Model III)
  • Where you stand depends on where you sit.
  • Players prefer solutions that serve
    organizations power, regardless of national
    security.
  • Air Force air attack.
  • State Department diplomatic negotiation.
  • Defense Department civilians military action.
  • Military officers dont want to enter war they
    might lose if attack, prefer preemptive.

19
Bureaucratic Politics(Allison Model III)
  • For Allison, bureaucrats act in their
    organizations interests, rather than for
    corporations or interest groups.
  • But bureaucrats views coloured by personal
    baggage, outside interests, level of ambition.
  • Here lobbyists or past careers can affect them.

20
Bureaucratic Clash over Iraq
vs
Ideologues oil interests?
Dept. of State diplomatic doves Military
only invade if can win
Dept. of Defense Civilians gung ho hawks
21
Personal Biases in Model III(Dick Cheney and
Iraqi Oil)
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