Explaining variation in perceptions of red tape : A professionalism-marketization model

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

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)418-438
Journal / PublicationPublic Administration
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2010
Externally publishedYes


In the public administration literature, ways in which perceptions of red tape vary between different parts of the public sector remains relatively unexplored. In this article we define organizational red tape as a subject-dependent concept; that is, we expect to see variations in the level and type of red tape between different internal stakeholder groups. We then explain variations with two organizational-based variables, professionalization and marketization. The empirical analysis is undertaken on nearly 800 English local government services. The framework correctly predicts that officials in highly professionalized and marketized services perceive higher levels of red tape, while those in less professionalized and marketized services report lower levels. We then summarize our findings and comment on their theoretical and practical significance. © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.