Do we suffer from ‘bureauphobia’?
In order for public-private partnership (PPP) arrangements to happen, there must be private sector proponents (PSPs) who are willing to deal with the government through its implementing agencies (IAs). IAs must, likewise, be open to partnering with PSPs.
If a PSP is bureaucracy-risk-averse, is not willing to face political risks or suffers from “bureauphobia,” as described by Dr. Ichak Adizes in his January 3 blog, then, obviously, there could be no PPPs. Relatedly, IAs must acknowledge that there are gaps and believe that there are benefits in partnering with outsiders or PSPs.
What is bureauphobia? According to Adizes, “bureau-phobia is…induced by the environment we live in.” He admits “feeling the symptoms of bureauphobia” as he “look[s] at the papers (referring to IRA, tax and trust documents) and becoming paralyzed.” He asks, “How in the world can I fill out these forms and not make a mistake? And what will be the repercussions if I make a mistake?” He anchors his fear of the bureaucracy from the government’s intrusion into people’s lives and the resulting punishment for noncompliance with government impositions.
What is the traditional meaning of bureaucracy? Max Weber lists the characteristics of a bureaucracy: Government agencies have fixed jurisdictional areas; are ordered by rules and regulations; have regular activities required, which are distributed as official duties; have the authority to give commands required for discharge of these duties; and have methodical provisions where regular and continuous fulfillment of these duties are performed.