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North Castle Books

Rules and Red Tape: A Prism for Public Administration Theory and Research
Authored by: Barry Bozeman; Mary K. Feeney

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Cloth ISBN: 978-0-7656-2334-8 Paper ISBN: 978-0-7656-2335-5
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Information: 216pp. Tables, figures, bibliography, index.
Publication Date: April 2011.  


Description: Red tape, like "politics" or "public interest," is one of those terms everyone knows, but for which there is surprisingly little shared meaning. Is red tape perceptual or objective? Is it neutral, or negative, or can red tape even be positive? Does it necessarily entail delays? Does red tape equate with bad management? Does it flow from rules or are rules themselves red tape?

Barry Bozeman, author of the classic Bureaucracy and Red Tape, and Mary Feeney re-examine these questions and more with a new focus on their application to public management.

Rules and Red Tape provides the most comprehensive treatment available of red tape research and theory. Co-authors Barry Bozeman and Mary Feeney have fundamentally reworked and extended the previous book, and include new chapters that review and integrate the recent work on red tape research that has burgeoned in the fields of public management, public administration, and public policy. In addition, in exploring the path of read tape research and theory, the authors reflect on the topic as an illustration of how research and theory intersect in public administration and provide a critique of theory development.

Selected Contents:

1. Situating Red Tape Research and Theory
Red Tape as a Focus of Scholarly Inquiry
Situating Red Tape Scholarship: Three Knowledge Domains
Knowledge Competition: Which to Use?
A Learning Laboratory for Theory Building
Prelude to an "Embedded" Criticism of Red Tape Research and Theory
Chapter Overview

2. Why Red Tape Is Not So Black and White
Conceptual Origins
Organization Structure and Formalization
Formalization as Physiology, Red Tape as Pathology
Why Formalization Is Important
Red Tape vs. Formalization
Herbert Kaufman's Concepts: Limitations for Research Constructs
Beneficial Red Tape
Red Tape as Pathology
Resolving the Confusion of Pathology vs. Benefit
From Beneficial Red Tape to Contemporary Red Tape Theory
Theory Rules and Red Tape
Thinking Systematically About Rules
Bureaucratic Pathology
Red Tape Defined: "No Redeeming Social Value"
New Concept: Multidimensional Red Tape

3. Elements of Red Tape Theory
Bozeman's Theory: Rule-Inception and Rule-Evolved Red Tape
Rule Inception Red Tape
High Compliance and High Opportunity Cost Rules
Rule-Evolved Red Tape
Empirical Research Testing the Models and Propositions
Extant Conceptual and Theoretical Analyses of Red Tape
Relation of Theoretical and Conceptual Research

4. Empirical Research on Red Tape
Operationalizing and Measuring Red Tape
Self-Assessed Red Tape
Red Tape as Delay
General Findings of Empirical Research
Empirical Measurement and Implications

5. Contracting and Performance
Stakeholder Red Tape
Concluding Remarks

6. A Research Agenda for Red Tape
What Has Gone Before
"Real Red Tape": Concepts, Constructs and Explanation
Origins, Tracking, and Evolution
On Doing What We Are Doing, but Doing It Better
Theory Testing and Development
Concluding Remarks

7. Red Tape as Token
Critical Perspectives on Public Administration Research
An Embedded Assessment of Research and Theory
Red Tape as Token: What Are Its "Bona Fides"?
Embedded in Red Tape: "Pre-History"
Embedded in Projects: The Role of Team-Based Research Projects on the Development of Red Tape Research
Conclusions from Experience with Team-Based Public Administration Projects
Concluding Thoughts

About the Authors

Comment(s): "Bozeman and Feeney have done an outstanding job of summarizing the state of knowledge on red tape as well as providing us with a forward thinking research agenda. More importantly, though, their chapter on red tape as token provides an excellent exemplar on how to develop and implement a research program than can transform our thinking about core concepts in public management. I know this will be a required read for all our Ph.D. students." -- Stuart Bretschneider, The Maxwell School, Syracuse University

"Bozeman and Feeney have written a masterpiece! This is a must-read for all serious students of public organizations and management!! Bozeman is the doyen of red tape scholarship and has inspired many others to study the challenge of red tape public managers face everyday. This landmark volume not only provides insights on bureaucratic red tape but also useful pointers on how other domains of public management scholarship can develop useful theory." -- Sanjay K. Pandey, Rutgers University, Newark

"The common conception of 'red tape' has become so colloquial that it is routinely used to describe just about anything that doesn't work well or is wasteful in government. This has not deterred two of the top scholars in public management from bringing to bear rigorous theoretical and empirical tools and clarity to the study of red tape-administrative rules that may unintentionally impede public sector effectiveness-and illuminating its origins, pathways and consequences. Indeed, the important contributions of this book extend beyond the generation and synthesis of knowledge on red tape, offering public management scholars an exemplary approach to formalizing, critiquing and improving research and identifying new directions that will undoubtedly produce valuable insights for research as well as the practice of public management." -- Carolyn Heinrich, University of Wisconsin

Review(s): "Provides college-level public administration readers with a fine survey with new chapters on red tape research. The focus identifies what constitutes red tape, how it is managed and mismanaged, ways it's equated with bad management, and how it relates to rules. Any collection strong in public management issues and references must have this!" -- The Midwest Book Review

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