Organizational red tape: A measurement experiment

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Multiple public administration survey research projects have asked respondents to assess the level of red tape in their organizations. Many of these surveys use the following questionnaire item: "If red tape is defined as 'burdensome rules and procedures that have negative effects on the organization's effectiveness,' how would you assess the level of red tape in your organization?" Unfortunately, no research has tested the ways in which the language used in this item may bias responses. This research uses data from a 2010 national survey of 2,500 local government managers in the United States to test three variations of the Organizational Red Tape scale, investigating whether there is variation in perceived organizational red tape based on the question wording. The findings from this research contribute to the red tape literature by providing empirical evidence that the definition used in the Organizational Red Tape scale, a commonly used questionnaire item in public administration research, influences responses about red tape perceptions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)427-444
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Public Administration Research and Theory
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Marketing


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