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Bureaucratic Elites in Western European StatesA Comparative Analysis of Top Officials$
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Edward C. Page and Vincent Wright

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198294467

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198294468.001.0001

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Conclusion: Senior Officials in Western Europe

Conclusion: Senior Officials in Western Europe

Chapter:
(p.266) Conclusion: Senior Officials in Western Europe
Source:
Bureaucratic Elites in Western European States
Author(s):

Edward C. Page (Contributor Webpage)

Vincent Wright

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0198294468.003.0013

The conclusion starts by noting that there are clearly highly diverse trends in the development of bureaucracy in Western Europe, and that, although in some countries patterns of change are quite distinct, change does not appear to have followed any one expected pattern or scale. It then looks at two central questions for the role of bureaucracy: its political controllability and efficiency. These enable us to point to differences in broad underlying principles that reflect how different countries have traditionally understood and dealt with these two central problems, allow us to make important distinctions between different forms of bureaucracies, and explore the causes and character of changes in the senior ranks of post‐war bureaucracies. The two central questions are then examined in sections on political control, performance, managerial changes, and changes in political control. The concluding section finds that there is a common theme underlying the development of relationships between bureaucratic and political elites that applies to most of the country studies: a deinstitutionalization or personalization of political trust. Understood as a question of trust, change in bureaucracy is linked to much wider political changes that have been identified outside the literature on bureaucracy.

Keywords:   bureaucracy, bureaucratic elites, change, deinstitutionalization, development, efficiency, Europe, managerial changes, performance, personalization, political control, political elites, political trust, senior civil servants, senior civil service, Western Europe

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