The Effects Bureaucracy On Productivity And Efficiency In The Service Delivery Of The Ministry Of Education, Oyo State, Nigeria

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Project and Seminar material for Public Administration


This study was carried out on the effect of bureaucracy on productivity and efficiency in the service delivery of the ministry of education, Oyo state, Nigeria. Businesses have rapidly sprang up over the last ten years, thereby bringing pressure on the few and available social amenities, as well as public service provided by the Ministry of Education, Oyo state (MOE). MOE is the local administrative authority mandated to provide services for accelerated development and does this through bureaucratic procedures outlined by Max Weber.

However, its bureaucratic machineries rather than fuelling development programmes through public service delivery is said to have hindered the growth expected due to excessive bureaucratization of business processes, coupled with corruption. This study was therefore to, identify bureaucratic challenges that the Ministry encounters in service delivery and the extent to which these challenges impact on services to the people of the metropolis. It is also to develop measures to minimise excessive bureaucracy in the working process of officials of the Ministry. It employed structured, unstructured and interviews questionnaires to solicit views from respondents about the impact of bureaucracy on service delivery.

The study revealed among others that even though there is a clear practice of division of labour, departments lack technical equipment to effectively coordinate their activities, thereby resulting in delays in meeting the expectation of clients. Also, there was an overwhelming agreement to the fact that the Ministry’s low productivity, due to excessive bureaucracy could negatively impact on the performance of the central government. The study concluded by recommending that MOE should be made to go through bureaucratic reforms and offer its staff regular training programmes on customer care and satisfaction. It is also to provide adequate offices to enhance service delivery.

Table Of Content

Preliminary Page(s)

  • Title page
  • Certification page
  • Dedication
  • Acknowledgement
  • Abstract
  • Table of content

Chapter One

1.0 Introduction

  • 1.1 Background of Study
  • 1.2 Statement of the Problem
  • 1.3 The Purpose of the Study
  • 1.4 Objective of the Study
  • 1.5 Research Question
  • 1.6 Limitation of the Study
  • 1.7 Organisation of the Study

Chapter Two

2.0 Literature Review

  • 2.1 Introduction
  • 2.2 Pre-Colonial Bureaucracy
  • 2.3 Colonial Bureaucracy in Gold Coast
  • 2.4 Max Weber’s Bureaucratic Model
  • 2.5 Criticisms of Bureaucracy
  • 2.6 Bureaupathology and Technocracy
  • 2.7 The New Public Management System
  • 2.8 Marketing of Public Services
  • 2.9 Roles of MOEOs in Service Delivery

Chapter Three

3.0 Research Methodology

  • 3.1 Research design
  • 3.2 Sources of Data
  • 3.3 Population of the study
  • 3.5 Research instrument employed
  • 3.6 Reliability
  • 3.7 Validity
  • 3.8 Data collection
  • 3.9 Data handling and analysis
  • 3.10 Ethical consideration

Chapter Four

4.0 Data Presentation and Analysis

  • 4.1 The Social and Demographic Background of MOE staff
  • 4.2 Division of Labour and coordination of work in Departments
  • 4.3 Effects of Rules and Regulations on Service Delivery
  • 4.4 Authority Structure, Communication and Service Delivery
  • 4.5 Separation of Official duties from Private Affairs
  • 4.6 Consideration of Technical Competence in Employment and Promotion
  • 4.7 Bureaucracy and Public Service Delivery
  • 4.8 Social and Demographic Background of Clients/Customers
  • 4.9 Clients Perception of Bureaucracy and Public Service Delivery

Chapter Five

5.0 Findings, Recommendations and Conclusion

  • 5.1 Introduction
  • 5.2 Findings
  • 5.3 Recommendations
  • 5.4 Conclusions
  • References
  • Appendices

Chapter One


1.1 Background to the Study

Bureaucracy is a type of formal administration with the characteristics of division of labour, rules and regulation, hierarchy of authority, impersonality of social relationships and technical competence, etc. The essence of bureaucracy is to enable large organisations to be managed, to achieve efficiency and be more accountable to the people. In other words, bureaucracy is the coordination of organisational activities for effective, efficient and economical provision of services by public and private organisations.

The purpose of a Bureaucracy is to successfully implement the actions of an organization of any size (but often associated with large initiatives such as government corporation and non-governmental organizations), in achieving its purpose and mission, the bureaucracy is tasked to determine how it can achieve its purpose and mission with the greatest possible efficiency and at the least cost of any resources.

The principle of social organization which characterizes the twentieth century industrial society is rational coordination otherwise known as Bureaucracy. Under this form of organization, people are brought together in formal and complex settings run by professionals and experts. The professionals are called Bureaucratswhile the organizations they run are known as Bureaucracies. The nineteenth century produced a number of brilliantly descriptive and literacy accounts of modern bureaucracies.

Many writers call attention to the increasing bureaucratization of human activity but Max Wcber a German Sociologist historian and economist is credited with having made the most thorough analysis of bureaucracy (Mullins 1999). The main contention in the writings of those scholars is that more and more spheres of life are being dominated by large organizations and increasing number of people are becoming employees of complex organization.

As a matter of fact, quite a few aspect of medium society can be studied without reference to bureaucracy. Most obviously in the business world and in modern establishments, the coordination of specialization in accordance with impersonal rule is highly developed and adopted. The same trend has also been observed to be the pattern in every other areas of the society. Wilmot (1785) and Applebaum and Chamblis (1995) argued that bureaucracy starts from birth (health bureaucracy) to family upbringing (social welfare), to school (educational) to work (civil service, military, commercial, industrial) to worship and death (religion): man is increasingly dominated by bureaucracy.

Every sphere of modern life has thus become very bureaucratic as people are born into bureaucracies; grow in it, live with it and even die in it. It is bureaucracy all the way and all the time. Right from the unset of this world, man has cooperatively organized as a group to work towards a directed goal in a directive manner. Indeed the prevalence of complex bureaucracies is believed to be the structural frame work in our recent organizations.

No less important to mention is the fact these complex organizations are established not only to find solution to given human problems but to do efficiently. It is not surprising therefore that in the new turn era; the central concern of several classical society analyses was the issues of how man is going to organize human society in general and more specifically his productive activities in the most efficient way to achieve maximum benefits.

Max Weber refers to bureaucracy as the ideal and rational type of administration useful for achievement of positive results. He however notes the dysfunctions of bureaucracy due to excessive application of its guiding principles by office holders. Indeed excessive bureaucracy negatively impacts on social and economic development especially in poor countries. Merton (1957) mentions that excessive bureaucracy makes public organisations more arthritic and self-serving, less able to achieve their core missions, and less responsive to service users are; nepotism. It is characterised by red tapeism, excessive paper work, fear of innovation, poor customer service, duplication of working procedures, strict adherence to procedures, weak management practices, low moral, etc.

In order to survive the challenges posed in a highly competitive environment, many businesses, especially private organisations have shifted focus and are de-bureaucratising their administrative processes for better service delivery.

For any country to develop, it is very imperative for its government to provide goods and services that the private sector does not usually venture into, especially water, sanitation, waste disposal, road, health, housing, education, electricity, etc. These services, according to World Bank Report (1997), are usually those that the private sector does not want to provide or those that people cannot afford the price at the given market value (Oyelaran-Oyeyinka, 2006).

When public institutions fail to meet the expectations of consumers in service delivery, the ripple effects result in grave consequences on political, social and economic growth of a state. According to Private Enterprise Foundation (PEF) (2008), the quality of utility service delivered to the private sector is generally poor and this results increasingly in businesses incurring huge unplanned costs.

Public services as referred to by PEF are water, electricity, waste management, health, housing, business registration and road networks. Further to this, making sure they reach the people and places they are intended to for social and economic growth. However, issues that resurrect public displeasure are the manner in which these services are delivered by public institutions concerned. Complaints from clients/consumers are that public officials are not responsive and mishandle businesses and people who approach them for services.

In Nigeria for instance, it is very disappointing seeking the supply of water and electricity for domestic or industrial use. Consumers have to go through numerous bureaucratic channels before approval is given and in most cases, corrupt officials demand facilitation fees to hasten processes. Passport acquisition, registration of lands, law enforcement and judicial processes, health services, investment promotion, business registration, salary and pension processes have all been couched in cumbersome procedures that leave clients frustrated in their quest for services. In some cases, consumers abandon pursuit of these services in midstream, due to delays and other forms of bureaucratic insensitivities.

The bottlenecks associated with service delivery have made bureaucracy very unpopular to the people, because excessive bureaucracy inhibits productivity and contributes to loss of large revenues to the government. The PEF emphasized that in spite of the ongoing public sector reforms, including the issuing of service charters by public sector agencies; the quality of public service delivery remains unsatisfactory, being very bureaucratic, cumbersome and open to petty corruption.

The recent increase in electricity and water rates by Public Utility Regulatory Commission (PURC) was fiercely resisted by businesses, labour unions and the general public, with reasons that service delivery by these service providers does not merit the increments. Thus they (consumers) can expect a high level of satisfaction in products or services provided by public organisations. .

1.2 Statement of the problem

Oyo state is the hub of multi-ethnic settlement and nationals from other countries are engaged in diverse economic activities that thrive on services available in the metropolis. The increasing numbers of private businesses, coupled with well-established industries, required that the Metropolitan Ministry should provide services that are fast, timely and affordable. To provide services that are timely, fast and affordable, local authorities have to do away with rigid administrative practices.

Wise et al (1993) quoting March & Olsen (1989), state that demands for institutional reform suggest that public bureaucracies are too complex, centralized and rigid, as well as too little oriented toward the needs of citizens. This further suggests that a time has come for local authorities to reform their bureaucracy in service delivery.

According to Sarji, (1996), the primacy of the customer of public service dictates that the Civil Service provides services that are responsive to the needs of its primary customer and the public. The standards of service should be stipulated in line with customer expectations for efficient, fast and friendly services. Consumer concerns are for reliability, credibility, accessibility and timelines in service delivery (PSM, 2003).

The MOE is the pivot of public service delivery in Oyo state, Nigeria. It is the basic unit of public administration. It is established as a monolithic structure, assigned the responsibility of maintaining law and order, public security and safety, provision of safe and clean environment and development administration support needed for economic take-off and creating wealth in the metropolis. It is the responsibility of the MOE to provide services such as registration of births, marriages, divorces and deaths. It issues licences, registers businesses and building permits to estate developers. Its consumers consist of;

i. investors, ii.NGOs, developers, iv.corporate bodies like banks, insurance companies, etc v.traders and others engaged in commerce vi.churches and other religious bodies vii.individuals, landlords and tenants viii.Government organisations and institutions such as ECG, SSNIT, IRS, VAT SERVICE, etc which operate in the metropolis.

As an ideal institution for providing public services, MOE’s quality of services has been characterized by numerous administrative procedures that do not project the ideals of a responsive administration. Administrative lapses in the Ministry can be traced to excessive application of rules, regulations, procedures, methods, stringent policies and decisions, poor attitude towards work, bribery and corruption. Administrative structures, rules and regulations that are to be implemented to make public service meet client satisfaction are procedurally oriented, inflexible, and apathetic to the needs of service consumers. It services, consumers have time and again began to question the effectiveness of MOE’s bureaucracy. According to PEF report (2008), government payments go through as many as 13 steps at the minimum, involving several different officials acting in different capacities. Payment procedures tend to be rather unintelligible, non-transparent, unpredictable, cumbersome and full of excessive delays.

Excessive bureaucratic practices; are seen in the following:

  1. Delay of clients and waste clients‟ precious time and effort;
  2. Frustration of clients in their desire to invest;
  3. Payment of bribes or gifts or tips;
  4. Abandonment of service half stream;
  5. Provision of inadequate, incorrect and inefficient service;
  6. Discrimination of clients in service delivery;

Almere Gemeente (2005) observed that obtaining building permit from the MOE takes far too long, as documents and files need to go through the whole organisation before the permit can be granted. This results in erection of unauthorized structures on waterways, the massive development of slums, limited supply of social amenities, increase in crime and other social vices, bribery and corruption, lack of faith in the
Ministry and the government, low revenue generation, etc.

The issue that is of much concern to this study is that public service delivery in MOE has become very bureaucratic to the extent that consumers of public services in the Ministry have become frustrated. Consequently some useful investments in the metropolis are abandoned or suspended. Job creation has slowed down and, unemployment and under-employment are on the increase leading to all forms of social vices and under-development.

1.3 The Purposes of the study

In the traditional Weberian bureaucratic administration, public organisations are allocated with the responsibility of maintaining law and order, collection of revenue, and provision of service. Customer satisfaction was not considered an overwhelming priority. However, a contemporary organisation is required to make client satisfaction its primary objective.

It is generally accepted that public institutions most of the time, refuse to accept that they have consumers who need to be cared for and satisfied. Even though they accept that they have consumers, public institutions do not see the need to be accountable to them. Again, these institutions think they have no competitors and do not see it necessary to deliver timely and quality service to attract target consumers.

This research is intended to find out whether or not MOE has a client or consumer orientation and therefore has the desire to overcome or avoid bureaucratic tendencies that hinder good service delivery to consumers.

The time has come for public organisations especially Ministry of Education, Oyo state (MOEOs) to minimise and harmonise bureaucratic tendencies with the view to becoming market-oriented and consumer-focused in public service

This research is intended to emphasise that consumers of MOE services have the right to demand the best from MOE, its bureaucrats and technocrats. Therefore MOE officials should not hide behind rules, regulations, procedures, methods and bye-laws to delay services and engage in corrupt practices. The use of excessive bureaucracy belongs to the past.

The study seeks to assess bureaucratic barriers to public service delivery in public organisations because the barriers make these organisations uncompetitive in the fast changing world. It ends by making recommendations to public service providers especially MOEOs to make their services competitive.

1.4 Objective of study

The objectives of this study are to;

  1. Identify bureaucratic bottlenecks that hinder public service delivery in MOE
  2. Determine the impact of excessive bureaucracy on target consumers
  3. Find ways and means by which bureaucracy can be harmonised to improve public service delivery to consumers of the metropolis.

1.5 Research Questions

The questions addressed by this research are;

  1. What are the bureaucratic challenges which consumers encounter in service delivery at MOE?
  2. To what extent does bureaucratic principles impact on service delivery to consumers?
  3. How can MOE use bureaucracy to improve service delivery and ensure consumers satisfaction and care?

1.6 Limitations of the study

The research was limited to impact of bureaucracy because it seems bureaucracy is doing more harm than good in service delivery. It is also limited to MOE, because the researcher is resident in Oyo state and data collection will not delay and will be less expensive.

It is limited to MOE also because, in the Ministry;

  1. There is so much discrimination in service delivery to consumers
  2. Service delivery delays consumers investments;
  3. Consumers who cannot afford the delay have to pay bribes, which is not the best;
  4. • MOE is one of the Assemblies accused of excessive bureaucracy in service delivery for which something should be done.

1.7 Organisation of the Study

The study has been organized into five chapters.

  • Chapter one discusses the background, the problem of the study, the purpose and objectives, research questions and limitations of the study.
  • Chapter two reviews the relevant literature on bureaucracy, public services and consumer satisfaction.
  • Chapter three gives the methodology adopted for data collection. It mentions the research population, sampling techniques used in selecting respondents as well as research instruments.
  • Chapter four presents the primary and secondary data and analyses them to find out if they answer the research questions and achieves the objectives set.
  • Chapter five provides the findings and conclusions drawn from the data presented and analysed form which the relevant recommendations are made

Chapter Five

Findings/Conclusion And Recommendations

5.1 Introduction

Under the 1992 Constitution and by PNDC Law 207 (1993) and Act 462 (1993) Ministry of Education, Oyo state were established as legal pivot for political, administrative and legislative authorities to partner the central government in public service delivery for national development.

However, MOEOs are encountering bureaucratic challenges making delivery of public services below expectations and satisfaction of stakeholders, especially consumers of public services. Indeed the Ministry faces problems such as; inadequate financial support to implement socio-economic policies, lack of skilled manpower to drive
Assemblies‟ goals, poor office environment with archaic equipment, etc.

5.2 Findings

5.2.1 Division of labour and coordination of work activities

The study identified that majority of staff of MOE, forming 99% of respondent accept the fact that departments work together for collective goals. This realisation, however, does not translate into productivity, according to 58.3% of staff. One other contributory factor to this negative trend is lack of modernised equipment in the departments, which 65.3% respondents from the Ministry and 68.8% from the public, respectively suggest hamper the efforts of the Ministry.

5.2.2 Effects of rules and regulations on service delivery

Rules and regulations in an organisation are to delineate the public servant from personal considerations in work activities on behalf of the organisation. Staff who took part in the study and forming 88.9% agree that work activities of the Ministry are guided by rules, methods, procedures, regulations, etc. This was confirmed by 80% of clients, who think they are very relevant to operations. However, 72.5% of clients rules, regulations, procedures, were excessively or selfishly applied by staff of the Ministry.

5.2.3 Authority structure and information dissemination

Results from the study indicated that 77.8% were of the view that the MCE’s leadership style is democratic, which involves all in participatory approach in meeting the Ministry’s objectives. On the other hand, the remaining 22.2% think the MCE demonstrates autocratic administrative qualities. It is a serious indictment on the Ministry to have 41.7% of respondent stating that communication between the MCE and the departments has not been that expeditious.

5.2.4 Consideration of technical competence in employment and promotion According to Oyelaran-Oyeyinka (2006), the civil servant must be competent, effective and efficient in order to be able to implement government policies.

Findings from the study show that only 34 staff out of 72 has confidence in the selection processes into the Ministry. The remaining forming majority has no confidence, confirming Boakye-
Sarpong’s (1998) assertion that widespread practice of politicised recruitment were reported in developing nations bureaucracy. Notwithstanding this, 56 respondents asserted that the Ministry has the needed managerial and technical skills to discharge service to the general public.

5.2.5 Bureaucracy and public service delivery

The administrative processes presupposes that a positive relationship between the administrator and his clientele members of the public who enjoy his services (BoakyeSarpong, 1998). Even though 63.9% of respondents from the Ministry indicated knowing that citizens are their clients. On the other hand, over 80% of clients were of the view that staff of the Ministry do not have customer satisfaction as a major concern. According to majority of clients/customers, who interacted with the Ministry to acquire services such as; business operating permit, store license, building permit, death/birth/burial certificates, etc, services are procedurally delayed for selfish reasons. Further to this, staff are unfriendly and lack customer care. This therefore culminated in over 80% of clients‟ poor rating for the Ministry.

The Local Government Act 462, 1993 and Legislative Instrument LI 1614, 1989 assigned to MOEOs including the MOE the roles of overall development of their jurisdictional areas, formulation and execution of plans, programmes and strategies for effective mobilisation of resources necessary for development, among others. Despite this enormous legal support for the MOE, respondents from both sides think a ruling government stands to be blamed for poor performance in service delivery by the

There was an overwhelming call for administrative reforms within the MOE in other to enhance service delivery for increase growth in socio-economic development of the metropolis. This is confirmed by 72.2% of staff, who suggested as part of the reforms, better remuneration, computerisation of working processes, staff capacity building, employment of more qualified staff, yearly training programmes, regular personnel reshuffle and transfer, provision of better working environment (refurbishment of offices and supply of furniture), etc. On the part of clients and as a way of reform suggested; the strong political influence in employment must be done away with, so that competent qualified persons should be employed through due processes, relocation of the Ministry’s offices to a better and spacious premises, training of staff in customer care, increase in the Ministry’s Common Fund to meet demand, among others.

5.3 Recommendations

Based on the findings and conclusions drawn from the research data and analysis these recommendations are made for consideration by MOE and the central government.

5.3.1 Division of labour and departmental co-operation

The study identified that departments do not effectively coordinate activities for timely delivery of services, partly caused by lack of equipment and selfish behaviours on the part of some staff. To correct these anomalies, MOE should resource all departments with required equipment and discipline staff whose activities bring the Ministry into disrepute.

5.3.2 Effects of rules and regulations on service delivery

For the purpose of achieving efficiency, an organisation’s operations for achievement of results are guided by laid down rules, regulations, procedures and methods. However, these were excessively used by staff, suggesting that periodic review of procedures, methods, rules and regulations would go a long way by removing barriers and reformulation of acceptable practices for expeditious service delivery.

It was very evident that private sector bureaucracy adopts flexible workplace structures and encourages creativity and experimentation to maximize efficiency and productivity.

These strategic directions would positively impact on MOE’s operations if taken as part of the reforms.

5.3.3 Authority structure and information dissemination

Information should be easily and accurately communicated to staff of the Ministry when they need it. The Ministry’s productivity would be hampered if policies are slow in reaching staff.

5.3.4 Consideration of technical competence in employment and promotion

Recruitment of staff based on political affiliation, family, ethnic and religious should be eschewed. The situation where inexperience and less qualified persons were recruited into various job positions must be a thing of the past, if the Ministry wants to significantly enhance its operations.

5.3.5 Bureaucracy and public service delivery

Staff of the Ministry should be periodically trained in line with the tenets of New Public Management System which specifies the following; improvement of quality of services delivered to consumers; adherence to consumer focus principles; reduction of inflexibility, rigidity and other forms of bureaupathology in service; involvement of consumers in service delivery system design and packaging, etc. This will boost the confidence of clients/customers who are dissatisfied with the Ministry’s performance
in service delivery.

As a public institution empowered by law to promote and provide support for productive activities and development (community health and sanitation, maintenance of law and order, general amenities such as roads, bridges, basic education and infrastructure) public participation in the Ministry’sprogramme is very vital to the successful implementation of its policies. It is in this vein that feedbacks on the Ministry’s performance are crucial and public input into policy formulation and implementation necessary in advancing development of the metropolis.

5.4 Conclusion

Public service delivery is the implementation of services and making sure they are timely delivered to people and places they are intended to. If the private sector is the engine of growth, then the public sector is the fuel needed to propel that engine to function profitably. However, the general view on public service delivery has not be satisfactory with complaints of excessive bureaucratic procedures intended to extort money from prospective clients, thereby stalling social and economic development, deepening the suffering of the people. The negative impacts of bureaupathology, as a result of ineffective civil/public institutions are too costly to quantity in monetary terms. Until government pursue a strong public sector reforms, setting measurable objectives, disciplining corrupt public servants and reprimanding ineffective institutions, bureaucracy shall only be a word in the dictionary.

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