Large organizations employ many individuals. Charismatic leaders, caring supervisors, innovative program directors, and numerous street-level employees lend individuality to the collective and character to the whole organization. One should also remember that higher moral and ethical standards are expected of public employees than of private employees, and that public managers work within very strict limits of legislation, executive orders, and regulations surrounding government. But unique contributions of individuals do not obscure their general patterns of behavior, or roles.

A role is a predictable set of expectations and behaviors associated with an office or position. Like an actor assigned a part, cabinet secretaries, police officers, and policy analysts step into roles that are already largely defined.

A person usually performs several roles and it may become a source of stress and overload. Role overload is more than just too much work, or overwork. Role overload exists when the demands of various roles overwhelm an individual's ability to balance expectations, when the demands of one role make it difficult to fulfill the demands of others. The lawyer who must cancel an appointment to care for a sick child or the professor who neglects his students to fulfill administrative obligations is experiencing a role conflict.

Viewing organization as a system of roles helps to identify rights and obligations of each employee. Roles provide the consistency that holds an organization together. An organization that falls apart when individuals leave has not built an adequate structure of roles.

Although public organizations contain many specific roles, five role-types- the political executive, desktop administrator, professional, street-level bureaucrat, and policy entrepreneur - are the most common.


B. Pre-reading Exercises | Political executives

TO PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION | Red tape | Ex. 1. Which words can you derive from the following? | B. Pre-reading Exercises | Organization as bureaucracy | Organization as a cultural product | The environment of public administration | E. Additional Reading | Oversee (v) - oversaw ; - overseen | Vocabulary Exercises |

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