Rules and Red Tape: A Prism for Public Administration Theory and Research

Paperback (Print)
Buy Used
Buy Used from
(Save 41%)
Item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging.
Condition: Used – Good details
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $28.94
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 35%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (7) from $28.94   
  • New (1) from $37.26   
  • Used (6) from $28.94   


Building on Barry Bozeman's previous book, Bureaucracy and Red Tape (2000), this fundamental reworking and extension now focuses on red tape and public management, considering the topic of "bureaucracy" only as it frames issues of red tape. This new work-Rules and Red Tape: A Prism for Public Administration Theory and Research-includes new chapters on red tape research that review and integrate the recent work that has burgeoned in the fields of public management, public administration, and public policy subsequent to the publication of the previous book.

Red tape, like concepts such as "politics" or "public interest," is one of those terms everyone knows, but for which there is surprisingly little shared meaning. Is red tape perceptual or objective? Is it neutral, or negative, or can red tape even be positive? Does it necessarily entail delays? Does red tape equate with bad management? Does red tape flow from rules or are rules themselves red tape? These questions, and more, are all pondered in this book.

Rules and Red Tape presents the most comprehensive treatment available of red tape research and theory, reviewing its considerable progress, but also providing a critique and pointing to possible new directions. Additionally, in exploring the path of red tape research and theory, the authors reflect on the topic as an illustration of how research and theory intersect in public administration and offer a critique of theory development.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780765623355
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 6/15/2011
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Table of Contents

1 Situating Red Tape Research and Theory 3

Red Tape as a Focus of Scholarly Inquiry 5

Situating Red Tape Scholarship: Three Knowledge Domains 6

Knowledge Competition: Which to Use? 10

A Learning Laboratory for Theory-Building 12

Prelude to an Embedded Criticism of Red Tape Research and Theory 15

Chapter Overview 15

2 Why Red Tape Is Not So Black and White 19

Conceptual Origins 20

Organization Structure and Formalization 21

Formalization as Physiology, Red Tape as Pathology 22

Why Formalization Is Important 23

Red Tape Versus Formalization 24

Herbert Kaufman and the Concept of Beneficial Red Tape 25

Red Tape as Pathology 28

Resolving the Confusion of Pathology Versus Benefit 29

From Beneficial Red Tape to Contemporary Red Tape Theory 30

Theory of Rules and Red Tape 30

Thinking Systematically About Rules 33

Bureaucratic Pathology 42

Red Tape Defined: "No Redeeming Social Value" 43

New Concept: Multidimensional Red Tape 45

Conclusion 48

3 Elements of Red Tape Theory 51

Bozeman's Theory: Rule-Inception and Rule-Evolved Red Tape 52

Rule-Inception Red Tape 52

High Compliance and High Opportunity Cost Rules 60

Rule-Evolved Red Tape 61

Empirical Research Testing the Models and Propositions 68

Extant Conceptual and Theoretical Analyses of Red Tape 68

Relation of Theoretical and Conceptual Research 77

4 Empirical Research on Red Tape 79

Operationalizing and Measuring Red Tape 81

Self-Assessed Red Tape 84

Red Tape as Delay 96

General Findings of Empirical Research 98

Empirical Measurement and Implications 100

5 Contracting and Performance 107

Contracting 109

Performance 113

Stakeholder Red Tape 119

Concluding Remarks 123

6 A Research Agenda for Red Tape 125

What Has Gone Before 125

"Real Red Tape": Concepts, Constructs, and Explanation 126

Origins, Tracking, and Evolution 132

On Doing What We Are Doing, But Doing It Better 135

Theory Testing and Development 139

Concluding Remarks 142

7 Red Tape as Token 145

Critical Perspectives on Public Administration Research 146

An Embedded Assessment of Research and Theory 150

Red Tape as Token: What Are Its Bona Fides? 152

Embedded in Red Tape: Prehistory 153

Embedded in Projects: The Role of Team-Based Research Projects in the Development of Red Tape Research 157

Benefits of Team-Based Public Administration Projects 168

Concluding Thoughts 170

Appendixes 173

References 181

Index 199

About the Authors 207

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)