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Can public managers reduce red tape? The role of internal management in overcoming external constraints

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This study assesses the relative impact of four waves of variables on the level of red tape in English local government services. These variables range from factors that are largely uncontrollable, such as the inherent nature of the service being provided and turbulence in the external environment, to factors that are at least partly within public managers' control, such as organisational integration and management strategy. Data for this study come from a 2004 survey of English local government (785 services). The findings show that many factors affect the level of red tape in public organisations, and while public managers cannot eliminate all burdensome rules and regulations, they can significantly reduce the level of red tape by being vigilant in their efforts and employing appropriate management techniques and strategies. The implications for research on red tape and public management theory and practice are discussed.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April, 2009

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