Keynote speech by Barry Bozeman


Bureaucratic Red Tape and Organizational Pathologies in Academic Research:. Notes Toward Theory and Suggestions for Measurement

Barry Bozeman, Arizona Centennial Professor of Technology Policy and Public Management, Arizona State University

Wednesday, 2nd of September 2015, 17.00 - 18.15 Auditorium

Disccussants: Patrick Llerena, BETA, University of Strasbourg and Magnus Gulbrandsen, University of Oslo.

Senior academic researchers and research administrators whose careers have spanned decades have witnessed a monotonic trend in the growth of paperwork and organizational “red tape.”  The increase in administrative requirements take many forms, ranging from assurances that grants managers will not discriminate in hiring to detailed information about the treatment of animals in laboratories, to arcane formulae for the allocation of budgets among entities, reporting to government funding agencies, and, of course, the various procedures related to institutional review boards and protection of human subjects. Not all of these requirements are red tape; many are useful and even vital.  But when taken together, the amount of administrative procedure and documentation associated with research conduct and administration becomes crushing (Bozeman and Anderson, 2015). 

I present an overview and categorization of research-based administrative procedures, focusing especially on academic research.  I apply a well-developed theory or organizational red tape (Bozeman, 1993; Bozeman, 2000; Bozeman and Feeney) specifically to the problem of research administration red tape.  The theory is useful for explaining the origins of red tape, the complicity of administrators and even researchers in increasing red tape, suggests indicators and measures for research-related red tape and identifies empirically-based managerial strategies useful for reducing research administration red tape and enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of research.  Both institutional-level and project level indicators and approaches are suggested

Bozeman, B., & Crow, M. M. (1991). Red tape and technology transfer in US government laboratories. The Journal of Technology Transfer, 16(2), 29-37.

Bozeman, B. (1993). A theory of government “red tape”. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 3(3), 273-304.

Bozeman, B. (2000). Bureaucracy and red tape. Prentice Hall.

Bozeman, B., & Feeney, M. K. (2011). Rules and red tape: A prism for public administration theory and research. ME Sharpe.

Bozeman, B. (2012). Multidimensional red tape: A theory coda. International Public Management Journal, 15(3), 245-265.

Bozeman, B., & Anderson, D. M. (2015). Public Policy and the Origins of Bureaucratic Red Tape:  Implications of the Stanford Yacht Scandal for University Research Administration. Administration & Society, 0095399714541265.

Barry Bozeman is Arizona Centennial Professor of Public Management and Technology Policy and Director of the Center of Organizational Research and Design. Previous positions include Regents’ Professor and Ander Crenshaw Endowed Chair of Public Policy, University of Georgia; Regents’ Professor of Public Policy at Georgia Tech and Professor of Public Administration, Law and Affiliate Professor of Engineering at Syracuse University where he was founding director of the Maxwell School’s founding director of the Center for Technology and Information Policy.  Bozeman has had visiting appointments at University of Michigan, Columbia University, University of Copenhagen,  and Universite Marne-La-Valle (Paris Est). 

Bozeman’s research focuses on public management, organization theory and science and technology policy. He is the author or editor of sixteen books, including most recently, Rules and Red Tape: A Prism for Public Administration Theory Development (Sharpe Publishing, 2011) and Public Values and Public Interest (Georgetown University Press, 2007). The latter book won the American Political Science Association’s Herbert Simon Award for best book published in public administration and public affairs. Bozeman’s All Organizations Are Public (Jossey-Bass, 1987) helped establish a new research and theory approach to “publicness.”


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