The impact of red tape on the well-being and performance of employees in the public sector

01 November 2019 → 31 October 2023
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Social sciences
    • Human resource management
    • Belgian public administration
    • Public management
red tape
Project description

Red tape has become a major problem in public organizations around the world. Rules that entail a compliance burden, but lack functionality, can be categorized as red tape. Previous research has shown that red tape negatively influences employees in different areas. The claim that public services can be hindered by red tape has become a central topic in public administration research. This claim has been supported by empirical evidence that suggests an impact of red tape on employee well-being and performance. Despite the increased interest in this topic, research does not show a firm conclusion on 'how' and 'when' red tape decreases the performance and well-being of employees. For example, research shows that red tape does have a negative effect on performance, but these effects are not as uniform and consistent as the red tape myth wants us to believe. This doctoral thesis will study the underlying mechanisms through which red tape influences the well-being and performance of public employees. Our research objectives are (1) to explore how red tape affects emotional exhaustion, (2) to gain insight in how red tape affects job performance, (3) to study the effect of red tape on employability competences and (4) to examine what happens to the job satisfaction of public servants when the amount of red tape they perceive differs from the amount of red tape their supervisor perceives.