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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
|Publisher:||The Hong Kong Polytechnic University|
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|
|Rights:||All rights reserved.|
|Appears in Collections:||Thesis|
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Checked on Sep 17, 2017
Checked on Sep 17, 2017
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