Although there is consensus among scholars that red tape has negative consequences, there is a lack of synthesis on these negative effects. We conduct a meta-analysis and meta-regression of public administration evidence and ask: What is the impact of red tape on organizational performance and employee outcomes, and which conditions moderate this impact? Our meta-analysis finds that red tape has a significant, negative, and small-to-medium impact on both organizational performance and employee outcomes. Meta-regression shows that red tape imposed by the organization itself is more harmful than red tape imposed by external parties. Moreover, red tape's negative impact remains quite stable across sectors, administrative traditions, and research methods. In conclusion, an agenda for future public administration research on red tape is presented. We recommend that future research syntheses on red tape include research on concepts that bear a family resemblance (e.g., sludge, administrative burden) and also encourage analyses of differing discourses to identify common themes.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2020 by The American Society for Public Administration