BUREAUCRACY AND EFFICIENCY – PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION PROJECT TOPICS
BACKGROUND OF STUDY
In view of the fact that ethics and morality are the norms of every descent society, and the bedrock on which wholesome, efficient just and prosperous bureaucracy can be built upon, there is the need to stress on the importance of efficiency in the civil service. There is no gain saying the fact that effective, efficient, patriotic, and committed public servants who should be accountable for their stewardship are desirable for any nation to match forward. However, it is of note that our civil servants have become reckless and blatant. Our civil servants now bend the rules and are involved in wide spectrum of acts such as accepting gratification, concealing offences relating to corruption, fraudulent acquisition of property, fraudulent receipt of property, deliberate frustration of investigation, making false statements or returns, bribery of public officials, dealing with property acquired through gratification.
Also worthy of note among many civil servants include, unethical behaviour such as refusal to proceed on transfer or accept posting, habitual lateness to work, deliberate delay in treating official document, unauthorized removal of public records immoral and unruly behaviour, foul language, lethargy, apathy, laziness, rudeness to members of the public, malingering, presenting false sick certificates in order to go and attend to private businesses and a host of other deplorable attitudes. This is the area in which the civil service is in need of immediate drastic attention. The public expect the civil servants to demonstrate initiative, resourcefulness, and managerial skill. These could be achieved through strict observance of administrative ethics. This research project examines critically the concepts of administrative ethics with reference to its application in the civil service. In the 19th century, a British liberal Lord Acton said “All power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. Though power is hardly ever be absolute, it is expected that those in authority should act within the framework of the law. Administrative executives should be limited by what their subjects and subordinates stand for. It is important to remind those who wield authority to the members of the public that the power enjoyed by them is to enable them achieve the goals of the government.
Authority in the civil service has to be for the general welfare of the public and not for the private or personal gains of departmental or divisional heads. Authority should not be exercised in a manner to advance the interest of a family, clique or ethnic group. Officers in authority should ensure that all those under them are given the same opportunities in accordance with laid down principles and rules. Preferential treatment for any officer or class amounts to favoritism. It is often said of an individual that if character is lost, everything is lost, it is in a bid to ensure and sustain good character and high professional conduct that administrative ethics are enshrined in the civil service hand book, public service rules and financial regulations for use-by civil servants for strict adherence so as to ensure efficiency in services delivery . Bureaucratic efficiency could be achieved through adherence to administrative ethics. It is a state in which civil servants discharge their official duties in strict compliance with public laws and regulations and in keeping with public will. It means being pedantic. It is a moral and legal liability of public officers to discharge their lawful duties for which they are paid from public purse in accordance with the terms of their appointment and in keeping with the statutory provisions governing the lawful performance of their duties. It is the moral principles required of civil servants in the course of their daily duties.
Administrative ethics is an essential condition for civil service efficiency and high productivity and a solid foundation for the growth and development of the bureaucracy It enhances public accountability, great responsiveness to public interest and general public satisfaction. It instills in the civil servants high standard of conduct. In fact the importance of administrative ethics cannot be overemphasized. Britain was the first country that developed a democratic type of professional code for the civil servants. Till date, the British civil service is well known for its efficiency Nigeria after its independence borrowed its civil service pattern from Britain. Since then, the country has developed a professional code of ethics for its civil service. However, it contains authoritarian, bureaucratic and other non democratic elements besides the usual ethics. They are contained in the civil services handbook. The interest of the researcher was drawn following cases of inefficiency in the civil service. For this reason, the researcher considers it necessary to evaluate the bureaucracy and determine factors that hinder its efficiency and suggest ways of enhancing its efficiency.
STATEMENT OF RESEARCH PROBLEM
The Nigerian bureaucracy has indeed come long way from its inception during the colonial era till the present. It has received some kudos and many hard knocks. It has been reformed, reviewed‘, restructured, yet has remained basically the same.
While some Nigerians see the bureaucracy as been indolent, corrupt, over bloated, a drain pipe and a cemetery for good government policies and programmes, yet some see it as victim of bad political leadership which has been one of the greatest challenges facing Nigeria bureaucracy today. Bureaucratic inefficiency has now posed serious concern in the civil service. It distorts the smooth operations of the entire civil service. It has resulted in unproductively and adversely affects he efficient delivery of public goods and services. It is on the bases of the above that the researcher intends to tackle such nagging issues like, what is the place of the bureaucracy in the functioning of government?, what factors are responsible for this bureaucratic inefficiency? What impact has the civil service made towards restoring efficiency in the bureaucracy etc.
OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The major objective of this research work is to assess effects and causes inefficiency of the bureaucracy in with a view to offering suggestions on how to make them to be more efficient. To achieve this, the researcher wishes ; (i) to elaborate on the role of the bureaucracy. (ii) to find out the causes of inefficiency in the bureaucracy.
(iii) to Identify and examine factors that can promote efficiency in the bureaucracy. (iv) to stress on the need for adhering to administrative ethics as a sure way of achieving efficiency in the bureaucracy.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
- Of what importance is the bureaucracy in the society?
- In what ways do inefficiency of the bureaucracy affect social services delivery?
- How may efficiency in the bureaucracy be improved?
- Do civil servants understand and adhere to administrative ethics?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This work is well researched, up to date and comprehensive. Hence, it is going to be of immense help to a good number of persons or group. The work will be of great help to policy makers as useful suggestions have been made on suitable bureaucratic practices which if adopted would help the bureaucracy to be more efficient. To the civil servants, this work has created awareness on the roles expected of them by the society and how to efficiently deliver services to the people. Also, to the students and other scholars, this work will enlighten them on how to carry out academic research and teach them in depth knowledge about bureaucracy and efficiency
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This work is limited to the topic Bureaucracy and efficiency. The focus is on three ministries in Enugu State namely ministry of Education, information and justice. The work therefore centres on the activities of the civil service in their strive towards providing services to the citizenry.
1.7 LIMITATION OF STUDY
This research work limited by the time span within which the researcher is expected to complete it. Again, for the fact that this research work is carried out when the researcher was doing her course work including preparing for examination made the work very complex for her o actually concentrated very well on this research work. Finance was another constraint. Due to some financial constraints, the researcher could not travel to far places to get all the necessary data for the work. There was the problem of shortage of materials for the completion of the work. There was also the problem of some respondents not willing to disclose some important information to the researcher for fear of losing their bob. The high cost of newspaper journals magazines and text books did not help matters.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
(1) Bureaucracy: According to Garston (2006) bureaucracy refers to an organization of non-elected officials of government or organizations who implement the rules, laws and functions of their institution.
(2) Efficiency: According to Harvey (2007), efficiency is the ratio of inputs to out puts. In other words, it is all about how to achieve the output with fewer resources.
(3) Administrative Ethics. A state in which civil servants discharge their official duties in strict compliance with public laws and regulations and in keeping with public will.
(4) Red-Tapism: Excessive adherence to bureaucratic orders, too much attention to rules and regulations by civil servants in the performance of official functions.
(5) Administrative value: According to Kerhaghan (1973), it is an enduring belief that in administrative decision making a particular mode of conduct is personally or socially preferable to alternative modes of conduct.
(6) Code of conduct: A set of laws, rules and standard of conduct which civil servants must abide by .
(7) Civil service commission: A body responsible for the appointment, discipline, transfer, promotion, retirement of civil servants of grade level seven and above.
1.9 THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
The theoretical framework adopted by the researcher is the bureaucratic theory. The bureaucratic theory emphasizes the application of ―idea type‖ for rational attainment of the efficiency in organization. The bureaucratic theory was developed by Max Weber. According to Marx Weber, the Idea type is a mental map or mental construct. This idea type as designed by Max Weber (In his book the theory of social and economic organization which was translated by Talcott Parsons and A.M. Henderson in 1947) has the following characteristics (i) The bureaucrats are subject to authority only in official capacities and they are personally free. (ii) They are organized in a clearly organized hierarchy of offices, that is each lower office is under the control and supervision of a higher one (iii) Each office has a clearly defined sphere of competence in the legal sense. A specified sphere of competence involves, (a) A sphere of obligations to perform functions which has been marked off. (b) The provision of the incumbent with the necessary authority to carry out these functions. (c) That the necessary means of compulsion are clearly defined and their use is subject to definite conditions. (iv) The office is filled by a free contractual relationship. Thus, in principle, there is free selection. (v) The officials are selected on the basis of technical qualification. This is tested by examination or guaranteed by diplomas certifying technical training or both. They are appointed not elected. (vi) The officials are remunerated by fixed salaries and usually have the right of persons. The official is always free to resign and his appointment can also be terminated by the employing authority under retain circumstances. The salary scale is primarily graded according to his rank in the hierarchy but in addition to this criterion, the responsibility of the position and the requirement of the incumbent‘s social status may be taken into account.
vii. The office is treated as the sole occupation of the incumbent.
viii. It constitutes a career with system of promotion according to seniority or achievement, or both. Promotion is dependent on the judgment of superiors. ix. The Official works entirely separated from ownership of the means of administration and without appropriation of his position. x. He is subject to strict and systematic discipline and control in the conduct of office. According to Weber the purely bureaucratic type of administrative organization (ie the monocratic variety of bureaucracy) is from a purely technical point of view capable of attaining the highest degree of efficiency. Thus, it is the most rational known means of carrying out imperative control over human beings. It is superior to any other form of organization in precision, stability, discipline and reliability. It thus makes possible a high degree of calculability of result for the heads of the organization. Meanwhile, the researcher relied on the idea type bureaucracy as advocated by Marx Weber to measure or assess the efficiency of the public service.