chapter  38
12 Pages

Public Bureaucracy in Korea

WithBun Woong Kim

This chapter reviews administrative reform strategies in the context of Korea’s democratic initiatives in a period of rapid political transition. Korean politics and administration manifest the historical stamp of Korean political culture, characterized by bureaucratic elitism and political-administrative centralism. Traditionally, Korean public policy has been exclusively viewed as the preferences and values of the governing elite solely. The nonparticipatory Korean masses have long been psychologically oriented toward powerful leadership by the elite and a centralized hierarchical bureaucracy. The decades of the 1980s and 1990s have been a critical period for assessing the Korean governmental role in economic development. Democratic initiatives and administrative reforms are being adopted and pursued with varying degrees of zeal and energy in the present Sixth Korean Republic. A historic international symposium, “Korean Republic Administration for Democratic Society,” was held by the Korean Association for Public Administration in Seoul, August 24-25, 1988.