Red tape and public managers' decision making

Rama Mohana R. Turaga, Barry Bozeman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Whereas past studies have examined organizational red tape in terms of either particular organizational processes, time required to fulfill organizational functions, or managers 'perceptions, our research anchors red-tape constructs in the context of particular decisions. Using data from a mail questionnaire survey of public managers in state health and human services organizations, the study hypothesizes that public managers' assessments of the red tape in decisions is a function of degree of external control, number of participants in decisions, the reversibility of decisions, "risk culture," and especially the decision content. After using multiple regression to control for possible spurious relationships, the results suggest a two-factor explanation; specifically, assessments of the red tape in decisions are accounted for by the organization's level of hierarchy (more hierarchical organizations have more red tape in decisions) and by the particular content of the decisions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)363-379
Number of pages17
JournalAmerican Review of Public Administration
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Decision content
  • Decision making
  • Public organizations
  • Red tape

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Marketing


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