The creative bureaucracy


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An excerpt from my Ph.D. dissertation on the concept of creative bureaucracy. Talk given in Vienna at the request of the Wirtschaftsuniversität's Public Policy research group.

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The creative bureaucracy

  1. 1. Francis GosselinThe creativebureaucracy ideas on an oxymoron
  2. 2. A plan Starting points Bureaucracy Creativity Case study ModelImage : Kuan Yin, Nâga priestess, from "Hell Dorado".
  3. 3. Aims and objectives.A creative bureaucracy?Starting points
  4. 4. Image : Funambules Médias A creative bureaucracy? "Combining creativity and bureaucracy to develop a new model of public sector governance" An old question Numerous disciplinary approaches Recent (constant) economic / managerial renewalStarting points
  5. 5. Aims and objectives. Paper structure Clarify the notion of bureaucracy Define creativity Using case study, provide insights regarding creative behaviour "an exploration [...] providing insights into the various means through which bureaucracies develop creative behaviour and discourse, and how the bureaucratic nature of their activities helps or impedes the development of these elements in an ecology of interests and activities."Starting points
  6. 6. What this meansThe "Franco-austrian" tradition The anglo-saxon tradition Public / private bureaucracies Bureaucracy
  7. 7. Public / private bureaucracies What is bureaucracy and where does it apply?Two strands : anglo-saxon / franco-austrianLines are blurry (cf. Crozier) Bureaucratie.A confusion around the object leads to highlydifferentiated conclusions "the separation of administrative means is undertaken in exactly the same fashion both in public bureaucracy and private bureaucracy (for example in large capitalistic enterprises)" - Weber (1921)
  8. 8. The anglo-saxon tradition A rational organizationEmphasis put on control concl.: Taylorism / Fordism are "bureaucratic" (?) Bureaucratie.Mintzbergs categories encompass publicofficeLead to New Public Management, etc.Fail to recognize differences in motives,purpose, duration. --> when private organizations fail, they go bankrupt or are bought off. Public offices are reformed.
  9. 9. "Franco-austrian" tradition A public service, rule-based organization"The outcome of government"...... even "bureaucratic rigidity" in firms theresult of govt. "meddling with business" to Bureaucratie."eliminate the profit motive" - von MisesGrandguillaume, Thuillier [FR] point toWeber, Crozier as mistakenA type of organization: order, continuity, durationA type of management: "bound to comply withdetailed rules"
  10. 10. "Franco-austrian" tradition (cont.) A public service, rule-based organizationBureaucracy both a type of (public)organization and a method Bureaucratie."Bureaucratic methods" characterized bydetailed rules and regulation, set by authority.Rules are ends in themselves.Publicly-owned profit organizations are notbureaucracies (although may bebureaucratic: i.e. using rule-based methods)
  11. 11. What this means bureaucracy + creativityWe look for a process (creativity) that aims at"breaking the rules" Bureaucratie.In a system whose primary characteristic isthat it is "bound to comply with rules"How do these elements interact dynamically?Who, is breaking what rules?
  12. 12. Image : Richard Reginald Young Three metaphors Institutional change Communities and subcultures A theory of deviance Building "upwards" What is creativity? Creativity
  13. 13. Creativity What is creativity?Something to do with novelty.Can we designate it? Point towards it? "these are not questions for economist to answer" (Frey & Pommerehne, 1989)Many definitions: creative cities, creative classes, creativefirms and creative people, creative groups, creativecommunities, etc. etc. etc.What are common grounds?
  14. 14. Creativity Building "upwards"Start from the individual (a posture)Creativity is: what happens when a piece of work is appreciatedby others in society - Csikzentmihalyi, psychologistAn attribute that one may earn, then loseInvolves others. "One cannot be creative without learning what others know, but then one cannot be creative without becoming dissatisfied with that knowledge and rejecting it (or some of it) for a better way" - M. Csikzentmihalyi (1996)
  15. 15. Creativity A theory of devianceCreative individuals as deviantsConsider the norms, and make new ones (nietzschean?)Deviance is constructed not by all of society, but by agroup. A subgroup. A "community". "the individual learns, in short, to participate in a subculture organized around the particular deviant activity" - Becker (1963)
  16. 16. Creativity Communities and subculturesThe question : how do you generate / tolerate deviancein a setting "bound to comply with detailed rules?"Create new rules!Communities will exist - some formal, some informal.They form and dissolve all the timeHow does the institution manage them?
  17. 17. Creativity Institutional changeLevels of discourse: two conceptions of theorganization co-exist --> A rule-based, simplified version --> An heterarchic ecology of communitiesPublic organizations are "sheltered". In many ways,change "must" come from "inside".
  18. 18. Creativity Three metaphorsJoas (1991) uses metaphors: expression, production,revolution --> Parallel to Maslow (?): first order, second order, integratedWe focus on expression + revolution Expression - bring out what is inside (the organization) Revolution - process through which conflict is resolved
  19. 19. Image : Aaron Diaz"Changes first operate at the level of praxis, only then can they be applied to values" Crozier, p. 350 Bureaucracy + Creativity
  20. 20. Image : Oscar Niemeyer The Council of Europe
  21. 21. Council of Europe IntroductionIntergovernmental laboratory of ideas; 47 countries from 12initiallyAims to promote HR, democracy, rule of Law by drafting soft law --> Anything (everything!) but Defence --> Highly qualified, "top" experts in every field (as per FR customs)Committee of Ministers, Assembly, etc. + expert committeesFocus on Secretariat (not ECHR, Commissionner, etc.)
  22. 22. Council of Europe HistoryThree phases:1949-1989: 12 > 23 members, homogeneous, "workshop"model1989-2004: 23 > 47 members, heterogeneous, breadth offunctions, reform, etc.2004-... : EU growth, identity crisis, limited resources, etc. "There is obviously a great number of clashes between cultures here, culture taken in the maximal sense. To me, thats a very positive thing" - Interview
  23. 23. Council of EuropeA young organization
  24. 24. Council of Europe Some problemsThe "glass wall" admin vs. operations --> bound to comply vs. striving to change the worldPolitical leadership through agenda-setting bySecretariat staff (Barnett & Finnemore, 2004)A discourse of (top-down, political) reformEven states do not act as one (Justice, Education)Brings about a certain number of "conflicts"...
  25. 25. Council of Europe ConflictsGenerational issues due to workshop system vsmodern practicesHierarchy + 90s growth: lessened promotionopportunitiesTransversal movement of staff - less loyalty to sectorsConservatism of middle-to-upper level managementregarding reform
  26. 26. Governing the underground Bureaucratic heterarchy A laboratory of ideasA "polyarchic" model
  27. 27. A laboratory of ideasWhether we respect the "laboratory of ideas"...... or accept bureaucracys role as a "problem-solvingagent"The ecology of specialists must be made better use ofThe question is, if management is inherently "boundto comply to rules" (bureaucracy both as a type andas a method)... what rules?
  28. 28. Bureaucratic heterarchy Accepting communitarian nature of underlying organization Rules to facilitate production of knowledge "Bureaucracy" can "respect the rules"... ...while encouraging / allowing creativity The strength of bureaucracy is to structure according to rules... ... make rules for play, let the play get on.Image : Leo Photophile
  29. 29. Governing the undergroundBureaucracy needs to review image of own inner dynamics: A community of communities Multidirectional knowledge flows (complex issues) Strong links with third party partners (leaks of strong ideas, loss for the organization) - at CoE, by designOnce acknowledged, easier to connect with institutional"underground"No need to eliminate bureaucracy: change what rules aresignificant.
  30. 30. ConclusionBureaucracies are public organizations managed by rulesCreativity is a process involving novelty, individuals andsubgroups using expression, production, revolutionThere are different types of rules (rules about rules, forinstance)We can imagine a bureaucratic system that limits the "bindingof management" by setting the scene, the "playground"
  31. 31. Thank you.Contact :Francis