Representative Bureaucracy Gender Gap





Representative Bureaucracy Gender Gap

In her article Representative Bureaucracy in the Federal Executive: Gender and Spending Priorities, Julie Dolan focuses on the role of women in executive branch as it relates to spending policies. She uses the representative bureaucracy theory and the organization socialization theory, which offer differing perspectives to determine whether gender influences any aspect of policy making in the executive. The representative bureaucracy theory supports the idea that people’s experiences will influence the way they make decisions. Thus, women will make decisions based on the experiences they have had in life. These decisions will tend to focus more on female issues and they will differ in approach to the policies that men will propose.

Using evidence from different sources such as Clark, Shapiro, and Frankovick, she demonstrates that women making decisions on government spending will tend to focus more on concerns such as social welfare, while they will advocate for reduction in military spending. Other scholars such as Hale, Kelly, Kawar, and Newman show that female executives are more likely to support reforms that ensure fair and equal treatment of women. The scholars argue that women will focus on issues such as pay equity, childcare and family leave, flexible work schedules and affirmative work action.

The organization socialization theory downplays any gender influence when making decisions. It posits that the experiences that people have had when working in government agencies will condition their decision making approach. Thus, women and men are likely to make similar decisions and focus on similar issues because of their work experiences. She includes the ideas of scholars such as Thompson, Downs, Larson, and Weber among others, who argue that people are more likely to adapt to the values of the organization they represent, and this affects the type of decisions they make. She uses data on federal spending obtained from the National Election Studies Survey, General Social Survey, and Survey of Senior Executives, which were all conducted in 1996 to substantiate her claims.

The author introduces the concept of racial demographics in representation and she shows that it tends to be stronger and receive more support compared to gender representation. Black and Latino representation in different government and other institutional facilities will lead to greater affirmative action and representation of the people belonging to those racial groups. On the other hand, a change in gender representation such as woman leadership does not necessarily mean that a high number of women will be employed at the specific organizations and institutions. Dolan uses research from Meier and Stewart to show that black and Latino students benefit when there is increased representation of their races in different school ranks.

Similar situations happen when there is a high representation of black and Latino federal employees, since more people belonging to these races will become eligible for rural housing loans. Research sources from Hindera and Young show that the number of African American disability claims increase when more blacks are employed in the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. On the other hand, research from Hindera reveals that more women do not translate to greater female advocacy. Further research by Selden indicates that the number of county supervisors in the farmers’ home administration does not lead to more women become eligible for house loans.

The author argues that the differences shown between gender and racial representation are illustrations of organization socialization. Women become socialized in their organization to the extent that they do not seem to be highly concerned about the gender differences and equity. They go through the process of enculturation, and they end up adopting the same values and principles advocated by the organization. Although women will have different sentiments when joining an organization, the need for promotion and career success often determines the attitude and reaction they take towards organizational values. The differences in gender representation further illustrates that women and men belonging to the same race have more in common than people of the same gender belonging to different race and ethnicities. However, some women may want to avoid being stereotyped and set apart from the other employees. They adopt an attitude that is hostile to their cause. Dolan includes research from Kanter, which shows that women will turn against other women in an effort to be seen as one of the dominant groups.

The findings of the survey conducted support the representative bureaucracy theory. They show that women are more likely to support increase in government spending on different social welfare concerns. Women in senior executive positions are more likely to support spending on environmental issues compared to their male colleagues. However, significant differences occur between departments. Women in the defense department are more conservative compared to those in health and human services (HHS), and they are more likely to oppose further spending by the government.

There is a big gender gap on matters concerning childcare, welfare and healthcare in HHS. Women support these issues more compared to the men. Many women are concerned about their families. For many of them, their families determine their commitment to the organization and their work performance. They are more likely to have improved performance when they are guaranteed security and health of their families. Therefore, they will support increases in government spending that lean towards providing care and support to their families. Many men are less aware concerning such issues since they do not affect them directly.

Despite the increase in equality in the work place, the society continues to expect women to hold the main responsibilities in taking care of the household. This affects the way women perceive their roles, and they are likely to support increases in government spending that assures them of better families and a better society. There seems to be no major difference between men and women in the departments. For instance, both men and women in the health and human services department agree on spending increases in matters concerning the environment, welfare, foreign aid, and food stamps. This highly supports the organization socialization theory. It shows that the employees are more aligned towards organizational values and culture more than they are towards defending their gender concerns.

The author presents the points in a consistent manner. She begins by showing the different viewpoints that support or oppose the view of gender representation in spending. She shows how the representation theory supports the idea of gender representation using different sources from her literature review, as well as the survey she has conducted. She also shows the basis for socialization theory. She examines the perspectives of different authors and the scholars on the research. Based on the survey she conducts she interprets the different results to show that there is a foundation for the socialization theory. What this means is that both the socialization and representation theories are important. They are both important in forming policies related to government spending.

The author’s argument is persuasive. She succeeds in showing the importance of representation bureaucracy theory and the organizational socialization theory when forming policies. She shows how the theories determine government spending in different sectors. She conducts in depth research to prove her claims. She uses diverse credible sources ranging from individual scholars to government institutions and other organizations. She represents different points of view objectively and this adds to the credibility of her research.

The author’s argument is good and believable and she makes reasonable points, which is a representation of reality. The argument was persuasive and I agreed with the author. Women will generally tend to focus more on issues that affect their families directly. They care much for their families and children. They are also more concerned with the poor in the society, and they seek ways to avoid them. They often tend to avoid war and will therefore not support increases in military spending. Men on the other hand tend to be tactical in nature. They are more concerned with security issues. Such information is necessary when making decisions and forming policies. It reflects why some organizations have difficulties when making decisions, since men and women cannot seem to agree. It also reflects why some women fail to fight for fairness and justice when they get employment in seemingly unequal organizations. Although they seem to represent opposite sides, both the organizational socialization theory and the representation theory are important when making policies.

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