Allison's models: A look at Bureaucracy


Bureaucracy refers to a system of official rule that an organization uses to govern its operation. It can promote or impede achievement of an organization’s goals. Allison (1969, p. 690) highlights bureaucratic models employed in the operation of many an organization namely: The Rational model, the Organizational process model and the Bureaucratic politics model. This paper will, however, focus on a firsthand experience in the light of Allison’s Bureaucratic politics model and thereafter provide reasons for heavily involving bureaucracy in policy.

Bureaucratic policy model: A real case scenario

This model holds that leaders at the helm of organizations are players “in a central, competitive game” which is known as Bureaucratic politics. Therefore, the behavior of government, based on this model, can be comprehended as “outcomes of bargaining games” (Allison, 1969, p. 707). One of the arenas where this model displays its cons concerns the administration of justice.

More often than not, a case involving a senior player within an organization verses an individual with little influence tends to go in favor of the bigwig- a leader whose hierarchy affords him power to influence judgment. Other players within this leadership echelon support their colleague at all costs with the hope of similar actions being reciprocated in case they are spotlighted for their acts of injustice or impropriety. For the helpless individual, the corridors of justice are normally blockaded by various impediments including death threats and the luring of those wielding the whip of justice with goodies. Yielding to these corrupting tactics consequently undermines justice administration.

On the flipside, bureaucracy can foster checks and balances and ultimately ensure proper accountability in running organizational matters. This especially occurs when the key players seek to market themselves as integrity keepers and folks subscribing to higher ideals and principles. Moreover, it enhances efficiency since individuals operate based on set standards against which they can be evaluated.     

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