Civil service activism refers to the active, self initiated and committed role played by the civil servants in order to maintain order in the society and work for the development of people.
Civil service activism is however a deviation from Weberian model of bureaucracy which call for civil services neutrality and anonymity. In present context, neutrality has been replaced by committed bureaucracy.
The civil service today, like the society, is in turmoil. It finds itself in a deep crisis of values. While bureaucrats and politicians have to identify their respective roles and work in tandem towards goal realisation, the legally dominant partner is likely to use bureaucracy as an instrument of oppression or exploitation to promote hidden political agendas.
Fortunately there have been civil servants who have the courage of convention to stand up and fight for the values they cherish or the principles they uphold. There have been civil servants who have courageously gone public when faced with dishonest decisions.
Pros and Cons of civil service activism:
The pros and cons of civil service activism are highly debated.
Trying to work within the system only gets the harassed civil servant punitive transfers and other form of victimisation. So it is best to break out and work for a grounds well of public opinion. Once politicians are criminalized and are seen as wrong doing, bureaucrats can no longer remain neutral or side their political masters, but seek the support of the people.
However there are those who feel that no organisation can tolerate disloyalty and indiscipline in its ranks. When rules are broken in letter and spirit, the civil servant must pay the price. Coming out in media is doing the right thing in wrong way. Besides coming out in the open makes the issue personalized and politicized. An honest and well meaning civil servant could soon become a political pawn in a power game. Another civil servant was firmly of the opinion that govt. servant can’t turn around and condemn govt. and extract, mileage out of it and all that he can hope to get is media coverage and the status of a hero, all of which are short lived.
The point is civil servant can be neutral and yet an activist within the system for a larger cause and the public good. If conduct rules are faulty and stifling; they need to be rectified. Otherwise the only way out is to use internal channels rather than mount a public platform.
Future: An activist is no longer a backroom boy but one who give up anonymity for a large cause, thus making a dent in traditional concept of civil service neutrality.
Some Appreciation Please!