It is argued that existing theories and accounts of change in state bureaucracies — which centre mainly on bureaucracy and changing role perceptions — are of little help in understanding how the civil service has developed in modern political systems, and substantially neglect the implications of social and political change for the position of top officials. The aim of this book is to redress this neglect and focus directly on the changing position of senior civil servants in the modern state, and provide evidence on which to base an assessment of the changing political status of senior civil servants in Europe. This introduction starts the process by looking at what might be expected to change vis ‐à ‐vis the political status of senior officials and why, provides a basis for the 11 chapters that follow and presents a picture of substantial diversity.
Keywords: bureaucracy, change, civil service, Europe, modern political systems, political change, political status, role perceptions, senior civil servants, social change, state bureaucracies, top officials
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