Bureaucracy and Public Employee Behavior A Case of Local Government
journal contributionposted on 31.08.2011, 00:00 by Mary K. Feeney, Leisha DeHart-Davis
Government reinvention advocates assert that less bureaucratic work environments will spark higher creativity, more risk-taking, and greater productivity in public employees. While government reinvention remains a topic of interest to scholars and practitioners alike, these particular arguments lack empirical support. In response, this article tests the relationship between different forms of bureaucratic control (formalization, red tape, and centralization) and reported employee perceptions and behavior in local governments. Analyzing mail survey data from a study of the employees of four cities in a midwestern state, this article finds that employee responses to bureaucratic control are not as straightforward as reinventionists expect. Different types of bureaucratic control are related to distinct employee responses and sometimes these responses are the very behaviors that reinventionists seek to trigger by reducing bureaucracy.