Pakistan’s Bureaucratic structure inherited from the British Colonial Regime. Indeed Max Weber was first to describe that term which derived the theory of bureaucracy. When the British captured the subcontinent and they adopted it because it was considered the best administrative practice.
On the other hand another notable person Woodrow Wilson raised the conceptual difference between policy formulators and implementers. He argued policy formulation is the sole responsibility of elected officials or politicians similarly implementation for bureaucrats.
British, as well as the developed world, successfully adopted the separation of ideas. During their colonial rule, the British government formulated policies while bureaucracy implemented such policies. Their role was restricted to implementation and had no concern with the formulation. When Pakistan got independence it acquired that bureaucratic structure.
Almost seventy years have passed each government made slight changes in the existing bureaucratic structure according to their interests. Because of the reason they wanted loyal bureaucrats to carry out their instructions.
Additional reforms introduced in Ayub Khan, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Parvez Musharraf era. As an outcome, it failed to deliver services to the public.
Why public organizations such as Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) and Steel Mills fell into losses.? Because there was tough competition out there and the private sector was adopting advance effective tools. While these public organizations relied on traditional tools. Hence they couldn’t compete with the private sector.
What Is The Bureaucracy?
We can consider Bureaucracy as a machinery of government so it has desperate significance. In the 1980s Margret Thatcher’s government in the United Kingdom, Respectively Ronald Regan government in the United States introduced radical changes in a bureaucratic structure. They realized the environment has been changed and the existing system is incompetent to deliver. Therefore they emerged a new structure, today called New Public Management. It has changed the whole paradigm towards bureaucrats, contemporarily repute as public managers.
Unfortunately, we could not change the entire structure. We just introduced additional reforms to keep the status quo. There are public administrators, not public managers. Due to which they use traditional practices to tackle the existing complex issues ultimately leads to failure. Endemic red tape is common among them. If we make classification of our bureaucrats we have climbers and their interest is to get promotion to the higher level. Protectorate and they are concerned with the safety of their career. Advocates and they defend policies of their institution. But sadly we don’t have ‘’statemen’’ who are concerned and work for the welfare of the public.
They don’t have the capacity and capability to deliver services efficiently. Bureaucrats are risk-averse and stick with the process. Because they think if we don’t follow the rules of procedure and project fails then we would be accountable for not following it. They are not accountable for ends of the policy or programs but for the rules and procedures.
Pakistan’s Bureaucratic Problems
Lack of intuitionalism in bureaucratic structure blocked the emergence of effective norms in the public sector. The general public doesn’t have trust and questions the legitimization regarding their decisions. The top-down approach is their choice in implementing policies against the bottom up. The specific performance measurement mechanism is absent. The repetition of traditional practices in fulfilling duties has been easy for them. They don’t have grounds to develop new effective practices and changeable decisions making power over the process.
Weak accountability process whether it is a legal or bureaucratic form of accountability. Whenever they appear in the court for legal accountability if any policy or program does not produce desired results they argue we have just followed rules and procedures. The complexity of legal procedure causes a lot of wastage of precious time and benefits to them. While in the bureaucratic accountability case, their modus operandi has been such to provide support to each other.
Traditional Bureaucratic Structure
Traditional bureaucracy has become out-of-date around the globe and we are still possessed. With the passage of time societies has evolved and issues became complex. It is an era of change. Therefore we have to replace existing public administration with new public management.
Public managers would be involved in the whole process of policy process including agenda setting, policy formulation, decision making, implementation, & evaluation. Their focus will be on outputs rather than on the process. The market-oriented practice brought to resolve the ever-evolving issue.
Similar to the private, public sector managers would be responsible for the ends, not the process. They will involve in organizing, staffing, hiring, budgeting and all other aspects of management. It will emerge norms that will lead to effective practices and embed in the bureaucratic structure. Public Managers will respond to ordinary citizen’s demands. Similar to the developed countries governments, could contract out services with the private sector in order to achieve efficiency and maintain competition. Strong performance measurement indicators must be devised. Promotion should be grant on this base in spite of seniority.
What Will Be The Future of Bureaucracy?
- Irrelevant and autocratic rules need to abolish.
- Ensure greater flexibility so that when the environment changes they have sufficient room to take decisions by outsourcing their boundaries.
- Rational decision making should be the top priority in choosing policy alternatives.
- Citizen feedback mechanisms should be considered as crucial for check and balance for performance.
- The aforementioned condition of the bureaucratic structure shows that it is desperate to bring radical reforms. After the advent of globalization, each issue is more complex and we cannot counter them with it.
- We need to develop new effective norms or transfer practices from the developed world. If we do so then there would be “Isomorphism’’ which is durable when it is relevant to our culture. Otherwise, it would fade off. Let’s hope for a better future of bureaucracy.
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