They were highly centralised with small amount of internal differentiation. Their functions were limited to basic administrative services like revenue and law and order. They helped to establish the framework of modern legal and administrative practices.
They were highly apolitical i.e. politically neutral. They served the colonial masters who were not politically responsible. These bureaucratic structures were inherited by the excolonial countries when the colonial rulers left them. There is a second layer of the bureaucracy in these countries which consists of those departments and structures which were created after the attainment of independence.
Here a new civil service was developed-new in personnel, goals, departments and activities. They drew new recruits, most of who had participated in the national movements. They were the bearers of the new types of goals like economic development, social and educational advancement etc. Most of these new recruits usually had a much clearer, more articulate political orientation and a sense of political responsibility than did not former colonial civil service. The bureaucracies in developing countries, which have not been under colonial rule, exhibit a somewhat different pattern.
A traditional bureaucracy existed in them whether it was “royal” as in the Middle Eastern countries, or “Oligarchical-republican” as in most Latin American countries. They dominated the political scene until the end of the World War II. Some traditional elements were mixed with more modern ones which were borrowed from some European country. They usually upheld the interests of the ruling oligarchies and implemented rather I limited economic and social objectives.
The impact of growing modernization, internal democratization and the development of new social, political and economic goals caused this development of new social, political and economic goals caused these bureaucracies to extend the scope of their activities and recruit new personnel. Ferrel Heady identified the major characteristics of national bureaucracies in the developing countries. These are: (1) The basic Pattern of administration is imitative rather than indigenous; (2) The bureaucracies are deficient in skilled manpower necessary for development programmes; (3) These bureaucracies emphasise orientation that are other than production oriented i.e. they work for the realization of goals other than achievement of programme objectives; (4) Widespread discrepancy between form and reality; (5) Operational autonomy: These features combine and militate against bureaucratic legitimacy, efficiency and political responsiveness.
Such bureaucracies tend to be very hierarchical and dominated by a group which is culturally and socially unrepresentative of the population at large.