Bureaucratic Shirking in China : Is Sanction-based Accountability a Cure?

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

1 Scopus Citations
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Author(s)

  • Wenyan Tu
  • Ting Gong

Related Research Unit(s)

Detail(s)

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)259-274
Journal / PublicationChina Quarterly
Volume249
Online published15 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022

Abstract

This study analyses the intricate relationship between sanction-based accountability and bureaucratic shirking. Drawing on an original survey conducted among Chinese civil servants, it addresses the question of whether sanction-based accountability can effectively regulate the conduct of public officials and provide a cure for bureaucratic shirking. The study identifies the characteristics of shirking behaviour in the Chinese bureaucracy and distinguishes three major patterns: evading responsibility, shifting responsibility and reframing responsibility. The findings indicate that sanction-based accountability may contain some obvious and notorious slacking types of behaviour, such as stalling and inaction, but government officials may distort or reframe their responsibilities to cope with accountability pressure. Empirical evidence suggests that owing to some "strategic"adjustments in bureaucratic behaviour, flagrant shirking is replaced by more subtle ways of blame avoidance, such as playing it safe or fabricating performance information. Sanction-based accountability therefore does not offer a panacea for bureaucratic shirking.
本研究探討了懲處型問責與官僚懶政行為之間的複雜關係。基於對中國公職人員的問卷調查,本文分析了懲處型問責是否能夠有效地規範官僚行為,並降低其懶政行為。本文揭示了中國官僚體系懶政行為的特徵,並區分了三種基本模式:回避責任,推諉責任及異化責任。研究結果表明,懲處型問責能夠遏制回避責任這類直接忽視和敷衍責任的行為,如拖延和不作為,但卻使一些官員通過異化責任這類更隱蔽的方式來規避風險和減輕問責壓力。官僚會對其行為進行“策略性調整”,從直接逃避責任轉向更為隱蔽的避責方式。因此,懲處型問責並不是治理官僚懶政行為的靈丹妙藥。

Research Area(s)

  • accountability, bureaucratic behaviour, China, civil servants, corruption, shirking, 懒政, 问责, 官僚行为, 公务员, 腐败, 中国

Bibliographic Note

Full text of this publication does not contain sufficient affiliation information. With consent from the author(s) concerned, the Research Unit(s) information for this record is based on the existing academic department affiliation of the author(s).

Citation Format(s)

Bureaucratic Shirking in China : Is Sanction-based Accountability a Cure? / Tu, Wenyan; Gong, Ting.

In: China Quarterly, Vol. 249, 03.2022, p. 259-274.

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review