Bureaucratic Red Tape and Formalization: Untangling Conceptual Knots

Barry Bozeman, Patrick Scott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

103 Scopus citations


Advancements in our knowledge of red tape have been handicapped by a serious neglect in the development of red tape as an organizational concept. Progress has also been hindered by the rather haphazard application of this concept in much of the empirical research. In this paper we examine some of the principal factors that have impeded conceptual development, paying particular attention to the relationship between red tape and bureaucratic formalization. We argue that progress in red-tape research and knowledge requires attention to several issues, including the measurement of red tape, origins and sources of red tape, and the need to consider red tape from the perspective of multiple stakeholders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalThe American Review of Public Administration
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Marketing


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