An Examination of the Ministry of Magic from a Cultural Perspective

Written for Organizational Theory course in Northeastern University graduate school.

In the wizarding world of Harry Potter, a series of fictional novels published by J.K. Rowling, the protagonist is a teenage boy named Harry Potter who is celebrated by the wizarding society for being “The Boy Who Lived.” Potter earned this moniker by surviving an attack that brought to a close the First Wizarding War, conducted by the leader of the enemy forces. This leader, Lord Voldemort, believed Potter was part of a prophecy that foretold Voldemort’s downfall. The series takes us through Voldemort’s eventual return to society and the undertaking of the Second Wizarding War and its conclusion. Yet again, Potter and his allies vanquish Voldemort.

Before the advent of the Second Wizarding War, Potter attended Hogwarts, a wizarding school for children to learn the magical arts. There, he teamed up with Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore and further allies dedicated to preventing Lord Voldemort’s resurrection. This proved to be a failure when Voldemort personally announced his return to Potter during the events of Goblet of Fire, killing a fellow Hogwarts student named Cedric Diggory in the process. Following this confrontation, Potter attempted to warn the public and the British Ministry of Magic, the governmental body responsible for safeguarding the British wizarding community of Voldemort’s return, but his actions went unheeded.

Seemingly in the face of convincing evidence and expert testimony, the return of Voldemort is denied repeatedly by the Ministry and its incumbent minister, Cornelius Fudge. Such denial allows Voldemort to continue amassing power quietly and infiltrate the Ministry. The successful coup very nearly costs the wizarding world the peace and freedom it found following Voldemort’s initial defeat.

The concept of organizational culture, immersed with organizational goals and other related concepts help to explain elements at play that pushed the Ministry of Magic and Fudge himself to deny the resurrection of Lord Voldemort until receiving irrefutable evidence near the end of Order of the Phoenix. Such an illustration reflects the complete failure of the wizarding world’s government to serve and protect its citizens.

Organizational culture is the complete set of beliefs, values, behaviors and other elements that define a given organization. The functions therein define membership and boundaries. Culture plays a strong hand in affecting morale, expectations, and specific traits of the organization. For example, NASA created a technical environment that paid painstaking attention to detail, carried an expectation of repeated testing to ensure perfect efficiency, and suffused its members with the ability to think critically and produce thorough outcomes. Culture can be embedded in an organization to the point that the culture starts driving decision-making and dictates governing protocol.

Organizational culture can be approached with an open- or closed-system view. Howard McCurdy values the closed-system approach in his examination of NASA, in which norms are established by internal balances of power which can shift over time, affecting culture. However, an open-system view more accurately reflects culture in terms of the information that gets utilized, plus the shaping of culture under various supporting and opposing forces. An open-system approach takes into account varied internal and external forces acting on an organization to help explain behavior. By using an open-system approach, solutions not considered in a closed-system view can be identified. It is also more effective in isolating cultural elements of the organization that precipitate certain actions.

Applying an open-system concept of organizational culture will help us better understand the actions that led the Ministry of Magic to deny Voldemort’s return. While the task environment is primarily concerned with outside influences on an organization, it can also include internal elements that are not considered in closed-system theory such as the power that an individual leader can have on an organization. That is not to say that the closed-system theory disregards the cultural contributions of specific actors, particularly internally, but it doesn’t view a sole actor as a reagent that can significantly affect organizational culture; closed-system theory is more concerned with the modulating effect of power bases throughout the development of an organization.

A theory underpinning the concept of organizational culture is the life-cycle theory of Anthony Downs, a concept that McCurdy applies when analyzing NASA in Inside NASA. The life-cycle theory posits that organizations go through various stages of maturation: a genesis, growth spurt, aging, and finally, death. Where an organization resides along these stages can have ramifications on organizational culture. For example, early on organizations are thought to undergo periods of growth that attract people devoted to the cause and quality talent that see the opportunity to work for a rising organization. The culture is one of creativity, innovation, and a strong work ethic. As organizations age, they become increasingly more bureaucratic; more concerned with rules, processes, and organization.

Bureaucracy is where we find the Ministry of Magic during the time period that Harry Potter is set. While it is not clear when the ministry was founded, it is recorded to exist by 1629, while the series takes place in the 1990s. By the time Harry Potter arrives at Hogwarts, the Ministry is hundreds of years old; it has had plenty of time to embed an organizational culture. As the series begins with Philosopher’s Stone, the only mention of the Ministry comes with a passing comment that the organization is “messing things up as usual”. While the series is slow to integrate the Ministry into its plot, it takes on a pivotal role during Prisoner of Azkaban where it is gleaned that the Ministry is more concerned about image and reputation than acting correctly when it vainly attempts to recapture the escaped Sirius Black from Azkaban prison. It becomes clear that the Ministry functions as a typical government bureaucracy with hierarchies and sub-organizations that one would find in any typical government organization, run by self-interested bureaucrats.

The Ministry of Magic is headed by an elected official, styled as the minister. The minister oversees an organization that is governed independently from the non-magic (known as Muggle by the wizarding community) government apparatus. The Ministry is constantly concerned with the specter of public opinion, and regularly tries to influence journalists and the public through the Daily Prophet newspaper.

Much like any general government organization in the Muggle world, the Ministry of Magic is composed of internal departments. The seven departments that make up the Ministry are:

  • Department of Magical Games and Sports
  • Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes
  • Department of International Magical Cooperation
  • Department of Magical Law Enforcement
  • Department of Magical Transportation
  • Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures
  • Department of Mysteries.

In addition to departments, the Ministry is also comprised of various committees that serve both inside and across departments, as well as boards and offices. As a whole, the Ministry is charged with not just enforcing laws and regulations, but keeping the activities of the wizarding world secret from the Muggles, handling commerce and international relations, and overseeing Hogwarts, the main wizarding schooling community in Britain. The ministry is also subject to office politics. For example, we learn at one point in the series that maintenance workers demanded more pay and took a stand by causing nonstop rain outside the offices of the Ministry for a full month.

The Ministry of Magic’s culture leading up to the events of the Harry Potter series was defined primarily by its own organization, the task environment, and a sole lead actor in Minister Cornelius Fudge. Together, all three elements paint a picture of a highly bureaucratized organization rife with corrupt and willing malfeasance by actors. As a result, the Ministry significantly compromised itself during the Voldemort crisis, almost costing the wizarding world the downfall of Britain to the Dark Arts.

At beginning of the series, the wizarding community was at peace. The First Wizarding War had met its conclusion well over a decade ago, culminating in the disappearance of Voldemort and decline of his followers, the Death Eaters. The war lasted 11 years, during which the wizarding world was subject to significant terror and chaos due to the unyielding brutality of the Death Eaters (and other Voldemort allies including giants and werewolves) who tortured, mutilated and killed without a shred of emotion.

Following the end of the war, the Death Eaters were caught and prosecuted similar to the fallout of World War II and the elimination of the Nazi culture. J.K. Rowling herself has noted the parallels between the Death Eaters and Nazism, which should provide one with a good picture of not only how much fear there was in afflicted communities allied against Voldemort, but at the sheer relief following the war that such brutality was at an end. At war’s end, there was a remarkably large celebration by the wizarding community that remained well-remembered years later. As Millicent Bagnold, the Minister at the time Potter survived Voldemort’s Dark Curse, stated the night the war came to an end, ‘I assert our inalienable right to party.’ The end of the war and lessons learned also precipitated opening ties with the Muggle community, no small step for the wizarding world to take.

In the postwar environment, the Ministry of Magic moved to seize power and to set the wizarding world back in order. The public followed along, believing that a bigger, stronger government could prevent further abuses by the Death Eaters and stop any possible return from Voldemort. This reliance and dependence on the Ministry of Magic manifested itself during Goblet of Fire when Harry Potter revealed Voldemort’s return and killing of Diggory.

At this stage, the public lost one of their heroes. Potter was “The Boy Who Lived”, the person that defeated Voldemort as a baby. As a teenager, far more capable, he had just been bested by Voldemort, with a dead teenager in tow and a panicked Potter trying to warn everyone of his return. Their confidence in Potter shaken, the public looked to their other bastion of safety and security in the Ministry of Magic, and empowered the Ministry to deny Voldemort’s return, even at the expense of critically examining whether Potter should be believed. The wizarding world had no reason to go on Potter’s word, especially when the youngster was discredited publicly and seemed to be a bumbling teenager who constantly found himself in the middle of conflicts.

Even those who were in a position of power at the Ministry to counteract the task environment forces were unable to do so. It is documented in the series that those who opposed Fudge and the Ministry were quickly discredited, even if the Minister had to abuse his powers to do so. This allowed Fudge to maintain power: over the discredited people who were threatened with dismissal, others who fell in line, and by extension, the public. The overbearing tactics of the Ministry were well-known, and after the public-relations disaster following Sirius Black’s escape from Azkaban, the Ministry was in no mood to brook further dissent or admit yet another failing in allowing Voldemort’s return.

The ability of the Ministry to do this speaks to a larger issue at hand with the culture of the Ministry of Magic. In addition to task environment elements that essentially enabled and empowered the Ministry to take actions counter to the best public interest, the internal culture also played a strong part in creating the environment that allowed the Ministry to avoid admitting the return of Voldemort.

The Wizengamot wizarding courts, governed by the Ministry, spotlights the organization’s misguided priorities. The courts demonstrated a consistent lack of interest in evidence in supporting whether a suspect before the court was innocent or guilty. Rather, the courts seemed to rely on personal opinion (and prejudice) in rendering decisions, preferring quick and simple outcomes. Sometimes, even trials were not given, as in the case of Sirius Black. This philosophy extends to the Ministry at large, which at times throughout the series, decreed and enforced draconian laws without notice and preferred to cover up bad news rather than solve serious issues – such as the return of Lord Voldemort.

The Ministry’s desire to manipulate public opinion was no more apparent following the return of Voldemort in Goblet of Fire during the Triwizard Tournament, an international wizarding contest held between schools designed to test intelligence, ability and courage. The tournament, already generally an exercise in publicity, ended with the death of Diggory. Rather than give any credence to the fact Voldemort may have returned, the government organization immediately began spinning Diggory’s death as an accident and denying Voldemort’s return.

In Order of the Phoenix, as a result of Potter and Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore’s position that Voldemort had returned, the Ministry tried to eliminate Potter from the wizarding world, force oversight onto Hogwarts and impose sanctions on Dumbledore and his believers. The Ministry would go on to conceal a mass breakout from the Azkaban prison, conducted by Voldemort to increase the size of his army. This breakout included the defection of the Dementors, the prison guards of Azkaban which would have been a major public-relations issue had the issue come to light. Thus, the Ministry simply covered up the incident.

The widespread intolerance for dissent and corruption became clear to Potter when the Ministry refused to punish professor Dolores Umbridge for her abuses of power while at Hogwarts, where she eventually rose to the position of Headmistress. Umbridge, who preceded Fudge at the Ministry, lends credence to the Ministry being corrupt long before Fudge. After starting her career as an intern, she became head of the Improper Use of Magic Office by exercising a tyrannical attitude and ruthless tactics such as taking credit for the successes of others. She carried these elements forward to her eventual appointment as Senior Undersecretary to the Minister for Magic and had an influential position in the Wizengamot. The success Umbridge enjoyed in the Ministry is indicative of what the organization rewarded. For an organization’s culture to extend that far, it’s likely that the culture has been embedded for decades, if not hundreds of years.

Even following Umbridge’s downfall at Hogwarts during Order of the Phoenix and once the Ministry admitted Voldemort’s return, her career did not suffer. She returned to the Ministry and rose through the ranks to influencing roles. Both the absence of punishment and the rise of her career showed Potter that the Ministry simply did not care about her wrongdoings and that the organization was inherently corrupt, causing Potter to refuse to assist the Ministry, even beyond Fudge’s tenure.

It appears as if, leading up to Voldemort’s return, the Ministry was far more interested in the concept of satisficing than in actually resolving issues. Satisficing is the opposite of optimizing for the ideal outcome. Unlike picking the highest optimized value as one might do in rational choice theory, the Ministry chose to find solutions that were “good enough” – not necessarily the best one. Oftentimes in a Weberian bureaucracy with a reliance on hierarchy and rules where there is one leader, several middle managers and many subordinates underneath, satisficing means following rules and prioritizing ends over means. Rules and norms can prevail beyond the ultimate – or manifest – goal of an organization, as McCurdy in Inside NASA writes.

The Ministry is charged with safeguarding the British wizarding world in a variety of methods, including enforcing laws, educating the public and defending against negative influencers. Over time, latent goals were developed that served to obscure the ultimate aim the Ministry is in existence for. Even if these latent goals were admirable to begin with, they can be twisted into goals that harm the organization. For example, throughout the years the Ministry has been in place it has established a basic culture and engendered loyalty among internal and external actors. The idea of solidarity and shaping stakeholders toward an ultimate goal eventually led to an intolerance for dissent.

Whether dissent sprang naturally from a latent goal of the organization or was deliberately sowed in an earlier generation is unclear, but the Ministry is painted as an insular society in which members band together, do not tolerate conflicting information, and isolate dissenters. As time goes on, the Ministry has been able to shape existing and new employees into a culture that does not tolerate dissent.

By not only understanding the age of the organization, the affect latent goals can have, and task environment pressures on the culture inside the Ministry of Magic, one can acquire a deeper understanding of the intricacies of the Ministry. Just touched upon was the idea that employees can be schooled in and support existing culture, a point McCurdy makes as well. The Ministry puts pressure on and discredits those inside the Ministry that attempt to speak out. Why is there not widespread outrage at these tactics? Why did so much of the Ministry go along with it, especially the subordinates? It may have something to do with how the Ministry selects its employees.

“Of all the means by which people in an organization establish a common culture, few are as powerful as the recruitment of employees who fit the organizational mold,” McCurdy writes, and this is certainly true in the case of Percy Weasley. Unlike all other Weasley members of the family, Percy seemed the optimal Ministry of Magic candidate: willing to take orders, a stickler for rules, over-idealizing the role he was in, caving to the beckoning hand of power, and old enough to have memories of the First Wizarding War, as Percy was born five years prior to the war’s conclusion.

Percy’s values coincided with the Ministry’s overall culture, allowing him to slip seamlessly into the Ministry without needing training in cultural norms. He rose quickly through the ranks, becoming a member of Fudge’s office and inner circle, although there was speculation this was done solely so Fudge could keep a close eye on the Weasleys (and by extension, Potter). Percy was also extremely prideful, refusing to listen to his family when Voldemort’s return was announced by Potter, instead choosing to toe the party line, causing estrangement.

A large reason for Percy’s estrangement came from taking opposing sides regarding the validity of Lord Voldemort’s return. Rather than align with Potter and Dumbledore, plus his own family who believed Potter, Percy went with the Ministry’s belief. Unfortunately for Percy, he did not realize that the Ministry had taken this position largely because of its corruption and desire to save face. Regardless, the Ministry’s own intolerance for dissent had been sowed in Percy, precipitating his falling out with family. Even when the Ministry finally admitted Voldemort’s return, Percy’s pride in the Ministry continued to put him at distance him from the family.

The Ministry of Magic relies on varied elements to retain power and stay relevant. The organization needs a willing public supporting its actions, an ability to get its message out through the media, a sense of solidarity among the organization, avenues to acquire resources, plus more. Following the First Wizarding War, it developed an additional element of seeking to restore the British wizarding world to a time of peace and prosperity. All told, these elements make up operational goals; intermediate objectives in order to achieve its manifest and latent goals. The problem is that, over time, the overarching manifest goal can be obscured behind these operational goals, causing the organization to act as if the operational goals are the primary objective.

In the Ministry’s case, the organization’s survival underpins the need for these operational goals. Public support must be positive. Employees must protect the organization. The idea of a peaceful Britain must go on. The Ministry experienced goal displacement as a result of its aging bureaucracy, established culture and emphasis on putting the disastrous reign of Voldemort behind the wizarding community. The goal displacement only complicated matters, as decisions were formulated on the basis of these improper goals. The logic that provides the bedrock for decision-making is that it maximizes the goals of an individual and/or organization. But if the goals of the organization are misunderstood, the decisions will be misguided. In this case, the decision was to deny Voldemort’s return.

Certainly, the culture of the Ministry contributed to the success of Minister Fudge’s ability to deny such a return as the head of a government that had grown all too rigid in its protocols. As McCurdy states, mature government agencies formalize methods of operations and procedures. The situations these organizations deal with become increasingly familiar, so when confronted with a new situation that doesn’t fit into a previously established mode, a new crisis (in this case, the return of Voldemort) can expose flaws in an organization, which creates uncertainty — and bureaucracies hate uncertainty.

Many typical organizations seek to suppress uncertainty and reward behavior that ignores it, as Dan Lovallo and Oliver Sibony write in McKinsey & Company’s “The Case for Behavioral Strategy.” The Uncertainty Reduction Theory suggests that people seek to reduce uncertainty by acquiring information. The information at hand for the Ministry at the time Potter announced the return of Voldemort was low with no clear and obvious signs of Voldemort’s return. However, there was still enough information to go on: Diggory’s disappearance and ensuing death, Potter and Dumbledore’s testimonies, the role of Barty Crouch, Jr. in the events, and more. One piece of compelling evidence that was disregarded was the activation of the Dark Mark, a way for Voldemort to call his followers, on Professor Severus Snape, a double-agent pretending to be allied with Voldemort, but acting for Dumbledore. While uncertainty may have fueled inaction at the Ministry, it was incompetence that caused the denial of Voldemort’s return more so than uncertainty. Without the ability of the Ministry to directly acquire information, it was all too easy to ignore the threat at hand.

Lowell Bryan writes in “Dynamic management: Better decisions in uncertain times” for McKinsey that understanding what to do under the specter of uncertainty requires debate among many people in the organization. Processes and protocols need to be in place to determine how issues are raised, how discussion is conducted, and how decisions are made. As seen through an examination of the task environment and culture in the organization, the Ministry was incapable of having these processes in place, thus did a poor job managing uncertainty. Perhaps the pressures of the task environment and organization could have been overcome with a competent leader, but Cornelius Fudge was anything but competent. Not only did he fail at the basic duties of his position, he willfully contributed to the culture that encouraged the refusal to admit Voldemort’s return.

The Harry Potter series makes clear that as the minister goes, the Ministry goes. Therefore, the minister wields significant power and exerts notable influence. Unfortunately for the Ministry and wizarding world, Fudge was an ineffectual leader prone to bias, a craving for approval and validation, and prioritizing stabilization over adaptation. Fudge simply wanted a “comfortable and ordered world,” as the text reads in Goblet of Fire. He was placed in a situation where uncertainty was high. As a result, his mind imposed certain beliefs and structures on the situation in an attempt to understand it. That understanding proved to be Fudge’s eventual downfall when he began concocting and manipulating information to adhere to his understanding of the situation, regardless of the body of evidence and testimony available to him. Fudge exhibited a track record of preferring tranquility over a disruption of peace in order to maintain his position.

The dichotomy between Fudge’s bias and need for approval is highlighted in his actions with Potter. Prior to Potter discovering Voldemort’s return, Fudge ingratiated himself in with Potter to take advantage of the teenager’s stardom and to create the perception to the public that Potter was aligned with the Ministry. When Sirius Black broke out from Azkaban, Fudge did not want to tell Potter despite what was considered a clear and present danger to Potter’s safety, simply so Potter would not receive news that could affect his relationship with the Ministry.

As soon as Potter said something Fudge did not want to hear, however, Potter was immediately discredited in Fudge’s mind. In the Minister’s eyes, there was plenty of reason not to believe Potter about Voldemort’s return. Potter was a teenager who had a propensity for getting himself in the middle of trouble – a theory supported by sensationalist journalist Rita Skeeter, who called Potter’s credibility into question throughout Goblet of Fire, causing Potter to be viewed as erratic and unreliable. Fudge was in particular taken with one of Skeeter’s articles in Order of the Phoenix suggesting Potter hallucinated Voldemort’s return, making Potter an unreliable witness in his mind.

In addition, Potter’s ability to speak Parseltongue (the language needed to communicate with snakes) caused Fudge to exhibit prejudice, as the Minister could not get past parseltongue being associated with the Dark Arts, causing Fudge to question Potter’s credibility. By both purposeful malfeasance and negative influencers, Fudge chose to ignore the evidence at hand.

Evidence of Fudge’s desire to cover up truths to influence public opinion comes in his attempt to persuade Potter to tell the wizarding world that the Ministry was providing adequate security and maintenance following the public and undeniable return of Voldemort. Even after Fudge falsified material against detractors like Potter and, in particular, Dumbledore, to maintain his own position even if it required burning bridges, he was all too willing to turn around and pretend the bridges had not burned once prior offending parties became assets again. He solicited help even after mistreating Potter for a year and putting the wizarding world (if not the entire world) at risk by denying Voldemort’s return.

When Fudge assumed his position of Minister, he leaned on Dumbledore for advice and guidance, despite Fudge’s knowledge that Dumbledore had been offered – and turned down – the job of Minister three times. Even though it was clear the Hogwarts headmaster had no interest in the role, an increasingly paranoid Fudge began believing that Potter and Dumbledore were conspiring to remove Fudge from power due to denying Voldemort’s return. Further, Fudge placed his trust in the wrong people, including Lucius Malfoy, an agent of Voldemort who worked to misdirect Fudge from the true danger approaching. Fudge was led to believe that Dumbledore was using the threat of Voldemort’s resurrection to ascend to power.

The Minister leveraged the power of the Ministry and press to paint Dumbledore as an elderly person with questionable faculties engaging in a desperate final grab for power. Fudge’s prior actions actually bolstered his ability to discredit Dumbledore during the events of Order of the Phoenix. A year prior to the controversy surrounding Voldemort’s return, in Goblet of Fire, Crouch, Jr., facilitated the conflict with Potter, Diggory, and Voldemort by acting as a Death Eater, and was caught immediately after Diggory’s death.

Despite Crouch Jr., being restrained, Fudge demanded a Dementor accompany the Minister to Hogwarts for a confrontation immediately after Diggory’s death during which was a highly emotional and confusing time. The Dementor went on to suck out Crouch, Jr.’s soul, leaving him unable to testify to Voldemort’s return. At the time, Fudge believed Crouch, Jr.’s contention he was acting for Voldemort was evidence of his insanity and not a point in favor of Potter’s contention Voldemort had returned. The lack of testimony proved invaluable a year later as Fudge sought to discredit Dumbledore’s warning that Voldemort had returned.

Throughout this controversy, Fudge cared more about his own reputation than trying to address the damage he caused by not being prepared to battle the Death Eaters. The Ministry was simply not prepared to fight Voldemort and his army after the Dark Lord had spent years mounting his assault while the Ministry did not take proper measures to ensure a defense. The denial of Voldemort’s return and lack of preparation eventually led to Fudge’s dismissal as Minister. The Ministry mounted a sickly defense against Voldemort that even a change in ministers could not overcome, and the Ministry was eventually overrun under new Minister Rufus Scrimgeour, taken over by Voldemort’s regime.

As someone who loved the office of the Minister, Fudge was motivated to stay in the position by using any means necessary. He also idealized his position, believing he was overseeing the return to prominence of the British wizarding world following the First Wizarding War. To admit that the Ministry and the wizarding world was in danger without irrefutable evidence of Voldemort’s return would have been out of character for Fudge. As McCurdy writes, as organizations age, the organization itself and bureaucrats tend to prioritize institutional survival in lieu of institutional flexibility. This concept is at play in this particular instance: Fudge wanted to remain Minister, the Ministry needed to believe it was not in danger, and the wizarding world could not accept that the era of peace could be over. Each agent contributing to the culture that resulted in the denial of Voldemort’s return was concerned with immediate survival of the situation at the expense of the flexibility to recognize changing events that would threaten that very survival.

The personal goals of Fudge clashed with the manifest goal of the Ministry and the best interests of the wizarding community from the start. However, due to goal displacement, the Ministry’s perceived goals actually married with Fudge’s personal goals, causing goal integration. In this case, it was a negative form of integration spurred by task environment pressure, established Ministry culture and a vain Minister who did not attempt to fulfill the intended purposes of the Ministry.

Given the long life span of wizards and the age of the organization, one can easily extrapolate that the Ministry’s culture is centuries old. The culture did undergo some changes following the First Wizarding War with respect to a desire for peace, which led the culture to modulate somewhat, but it still remained an overall culture predisposed to corruption. The corruption of the Ministry was deep-seated, preceded Fudge’s arrival, and twisted the lofty goal of Fudge and the Ministry to put the British wizarding community back together following Voldemort’s original reign. The goal quickly morphed into a vehicle to suit the Ministry’s own purposes of positive public opinion, an intolerance for dissent and prioritization of a shaky reality at risk by elements it could not fathom.

Changing organizational culture is extremely difficult, particularly in long-running, bureaucratic organizations. Norms have been embedded for long periods of time. Even following the events of the Harry Potter series and the entry of Potter and Hermione Granger into the Ministry, not all of the corruption was able to be untangled, according to author J.K. Rowling.

The natural processes of aging a government organization undergoes, the increasing bureaucratization, a difficult political climate and negative cultural norms all work against maintaining a healthy culture. When one adds in the public idealizing the Ministry as a powerful agent, fears of the return of a great enemy after years of peace, plus an actor consumed with power and influence, it all combines together into an environment that was hostile to the idea of Lord Voldemort’s return until there was no denying it.


  • The Harry Potter series, plus online Harry Potter encyclopedias were used. Primary encyclopedias were the Harry Potter Lexicon ( and the Harry Potter Wiki ( Communications by J.K. Rowling in a variety of settings were also drawn upon.
  • Additional sourcing is cited in the text, such as Inside NASA and scholarly articles.
  • Information from Organizational Theory lectures by Prof. McKay was also leveraged.