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Title: 明代文官考察制度運作研究 = A Study on the evaluation and appraisal system of Ming dynasty civil officials
Authors: Yu, Jindong (余勁東)
Advisors: Zhu Honglin (CC)
Keywords: China --Officials and employees -- Selection and appointment -- History
China -- History -- Ming dynasty, 1368-1644
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Abstract: 文官考察制度是明代官員管理的重要舉措。有效的進行文官考察,不僅有利於官場政治風氣的澄清,也有助於各政府機構的順利運行和人民生活的安寧。對於這一議題,過往學者普遍關注於對制度條文的釋讀、制度利弊的評價以及因考察而起的政治紛爭,對考察制度運作情況的研究卻很不充分;不但未能完整展現考察制度的全貌,研究方法上也趨向於「靜態」。有鑒於此,本文選取明代文官考察制度的決策依據和運作過程為中心,對這一議題進行「動態」研究。明代的文官考察制度由針對南、北兩京中央官的京察和針對兩直十三省地方官的大計組成。京察經過洪武至正德間百餘年的調適,最終確定了「六年一察」的考察間隔,以及皇帝考察大僚,吏部、都察院會同考察中低級京官的考察方式。每逢京察之年,四品以上高級官員通過向皇帝上呈自陳疏並靜候宸斷的方式來完成考察。五品以下中、低級京官則須親赴吏部公堂,接受由吏部、都察院共同主持的「堂審」;對他們的處分依據是各衙門堂上官開具的屬員考語以及科、道官在京察準備階段的咨訪。在自陳和堂審結束後,若仍有處分未盡的官員,科、道便對其拾遺,並報皇帝終裁。儘管京察的正式日期僅有一天,但有關京察的準備和收尾工作通常耗時四月以上,足見京察運作各環節的繁瑣、嚴密。儘管京察因牽涉高級官員的去留而時常成為各種政治力量相互博弈的重要契機,但來自不同機構的官員在履行京察職權時相互制衡,使京察澄汰不職官員的效用一直得以或大或小的發揮。至遲在洪武後期,明廷已正式確定「外官三年一朝」的大計時間間隔,以及吏部、都察院會同考察所有來朝官的考察方式;因大計要求地方官進入京城接受考察判決,因此又稱為「朝覲考察」。同京察一樣,大計的決策依據同樣有考語、有咨訪、有拾遺,但因為咨訪和拾遺在大計時的效用較差,逐漸形成考語在大計決策中獨重的局面。為了獲得真實可信的考語,明廷設計了從中央到地方多層級的制衡模式,但卻終告失敗。大計制度的運作過程也遠較京察更為複雜:早在大計開始前的數月,各上計官便要著手進行朝覲路費的籌取、朝覲贈序的收納、上計官職務的交接等多項準備工作;在此期間,包括上計官在內的各種政治力量都為實現自身利益訴求而積極參與其中。在一應準備工作妥當後,上計官便開始少則半月,多則半年的朝覲旅程;進入京城後,上計官至少要停留一個月,以便處理各項制度規定之內的考察事宜;在此期間,也有官員利用空閒時間而進行廣泛的京城交遊。明朝少有政治制度像大計一樣,緊密牽動從中央到地方各階層的神經。論文最末嘗試結合正文部分的研究,探討明代文官考察制度究竟可否被稱作有效的官員管理機制這一問題。由於皇帝對考察制度只重結果而不重過程,造成了官員對這一制度選擇性的執行和遵守;明廷採用分權制衡的方式來解決這一困境的嘗試,最終卻因未能妥善處理效率與公平的關係,出現了守法者被黜而忽視法規者反而獲益的「逆淘汰」現象。筆者最終認為:最高統治者努力保持政令的長期穩定,而不是在效率與公平之間反復搖擺,才是實現國家有效治理的最優方案。
The evaluation and appraisal system for civil officials was a critical measurement of government performance in the Ming dynasty, important not only for bureaucratic practice but also for efficient operation of government officies management. Existing scholarship on this subject largely focuses on the interpretation of regulations, evaluation of strengths and weaknesses of the system, and the political struggle resulted from the operation of the system. The actual operation of the system is much neglected. The result is an incomplete picture officies of the system as existing in the Ming dynasty. Furthermore, the research methods applied rendered such studies incomplete the presentation of the system. The present thesis focuses on the studying the basis of the decision-making and operational procedures of the system, thereby providing a dynamic perspective of what was actually going on in the process of evaluation and appraisal. The evaluation and appraisal system of Ming dynasty civil officials consistes of two main parts: a capital official assessment (京察 ) which took on officials serving the central government in Nanjing and Beijing, and a pilgrimage investigation (朝覲考察) which appraised local government civil officials in the Northern Metropolitan Area, the Southern Metropolitan Area and the 13 provinces. After about 140 years of adjustments, from the Hongwu to the Zhengde reigns, the capital official assessment became fixed and was held once every six years. At the time of capital official assessment, high-level officials were assessed by the emperor while lower-level officials were jointly assessed by the Ministry of Personnel and the Chief Censorate. In the process, capital officials of grade fourth and above had to submit a “self-assessment memorial” (自陳疏) to the emperor. Officials of grade fifth and below had to undergo a “review in the ministry” (堂審) presided over by the Minister of Personnel and the Censor-in-Chief, whose judgment was facilited by an earlier submitted “investigation file” (訪單) which included an “assessment report” from the censors and surveillance and an “investigation report” (考語) by the ministry of Personnel. Officials who were not duly disciplined in the process would be impeached by the censors and surveillance officials, who memorialized the emperor directly through a procedure called “picking up the missing” (拾遺) . The statutory duration of capital official assessment was a single day, but the preparation and follow-up work would last for 4 months or longer. Such betrays the complication and strictness of the system in operation.
Capital official assessments were always the battlefield of political struggle of individual officials or political factions. But a balance of power was usually maintained of the departments charged to maintain the system. Hence the mechanism functioned in demoting or dismisssing incompetent officials at different levels of effectiveness. The pilgrimage investigation system was fully established completely no later than the Hongwu period. Pilgrimage investigation was conducted every three years. When the time came, all chief local government administrations must leave their jurisdictions for Beijing to report to the Ministry of Personnel and the Chief Censorate and waited there for the result of their review and an imperial decision of their ranking in the exercise. The documentary basis of decision-making in pilgrimage investigation was the same as that in the capital official assessment. But the “investigation report” and the “picking up the missing” memorials counted much less in effect. The appraisal was mainly based on the “assessment report”. In order to get reliable assessment reports, the Ming court had designed an intricate mechanism of balance of power. But it ended in failure. Months before the pilgrimage investigation exercise began, practically every pilgrimage officials began their preparation, including raising travelling expenses, receiving gift-preface (贈序) , appointing acting officials and so on. They then spent a lot of time on the pilgrimage travelling. In Beijing, they would stay at least a month to get things in proper order to meet institutional requirements. Some of the pilgrimage officials would also spent time to build up or secure political and social networks to their advantage. The thesis also evaluated the effectiveness of the Ming evaluation and appraisal system of civil officials. It points out that because the Ming emperor focused on the final results of the exercise rather than the procedural justice of it, officials also showed selective compliance with this institution. To solve this problem, the Ming emperor designed a balance-of-power mechanism at the expense of efficiency and fairness. Officials who abide by institutional regulations did not get reward or incentive, those violating the requirement did not get punishment either. Thus appeared an “adverse selection” (逆淘汰) phenomenon in the official appraisal system. That this phenomenon was allowed to persist, however, suggests that keeping the stability of political institutions and predictability of court policies rather than striving for administrative efficiency and fairness was viewed as a better way of effective government.
Description: PolyU Library Call No.: [THS] LG51 .H577P CC 2016 Yu
485 pages
Rights: All rights reserved.
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