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The Ombudsman

This office was developed in Sweden in 1913 [Gellhorn, 1967, p. 194] and has been adopted by corporations, governments and universities in many countries as an orderly way of securing redress against a bureaucracy. The ombudsman usually has tile power to' investigate complaints and can often compel a reversal of an official decision. While the ombudsman may be a real protector of the humble citizen, there are latent effects' of the .office which are a bit different in character. For instance, supervisors may be less concerned with correcting alleged injustices themselves in the belief that the ombudsman can take care of any trouble. Also, the fear of being called to account for any kind of irregularity may make officials even more bureaucratic and inflexible in the effort to prove that they have followed all regulations to the letter.

Whatever the ultimate effect of the growing acceptance of the ombudsman, there is no doubt that the office is one of many efforts
to make bureaucracy humane and.efficient. . There is no easy answer to the problems of bureaucratic abuse. The uniform and impersonal character of bureaucracies is the basis for their usefulness; yet these same qualities sometimes make bureaucracies unresponsive to human needs.

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