The creation of rules that govern processes or behavior is essential to any organization, but these rules are often maligned for creating inefficiencies. This book provides the first comprehensive portrait of rules in public organizations and seeks to find the balance between rules that create red tape and rules that help public organizations function effectively, what the author calls “green tape.”
Drawing on a decade of original research and interdisciplinary scholarship, Leisha DeHart-Davis builds a framework of three perspectives on rules: the organizational perspective, which sees rules as a tool for achieving managerial goals and organizational functions; the individual perspective, which examines how rule design and implementation affect employees; and the behavioral perspective, which explores human responses to the intersection of the first two perspectives. The book then considers the effectiveness of rules, applying these perspectives to a case study of employee grievance policies in North Carolina local government. Finally, the book concludes by outlining five attributes of effective rules—green tape—to guide future rule creation in public organizations. It applies green tape principles to the Five-Second Rule, a crowd control policy Missouri police implemented in the wake of protests following the Michael Brown shooting. Government managers and scholars of public administration will benefit from DeHart-Davis’s investigation and guidance.
About the Author
Leisha Dehart-Davis is an Albert and Gladys Coates Distinguished Term Associate Professor at the School of Government at the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill. Her articles have appeared in the Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, Public Administration Review, International Public Management Journal, and elsewhere.
Table of Contents
Introduction1 The Organizational Perspective on Rules2 The Individual Perspective on Rules3 The Behavioral Perspective on Rules4 The Rules Framework and Grievance Policies5 Creating Effective Rules through Green TapeConclusionAppendix: Local Government Workplaces Study DesignReferencesIndexAbout the Author
What People are Saying About This
Far too often, public administration scholars focus on the negative aspects of organizational rules. This book takes a refreshingly new look at rules and the manner in which they reflect contemporary issues in public administration. It is grounded in theory and provides invaluable knowledge and insights to students, researchers and practitioners of public administration globally. This book is a must read.
This is a well written, thoughtful book that deftly merges theory and evidence in an original framework easily accessible to scholars, practitioners, and students alike. Using three different lenses – organizational, individual, and behavioral – Leisha DeHart-Davis creatively draws on diverse research traditions to illuminate the beneficial and harmful aspects of organizational rules. It is a “must read” for anyone interested in public management and organization theory.
DeHart-Davis argues that bureaucratic rules are not just red tape to strip away, but a defining feature of modern organizations. A fresh, thorough discussion that touches headline issues and offers sane advice. A timely reminder that bureaucracy is a game with rules, so we should pay attention to how they work.