The effects of environmental factors on bureaucratic performance in Cameroon



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Texas Tech University


There are some remarkable differences between bureaucracies in developing and developed countries. These differences seem more pronounced in countries where there is a multiplicity of ethnic groups. Prior to the early sixties, it was believed that only endogenous variables affected bureaucratic performance. Therefore, generally accepted administrative solutions, many of which stemmed from the classical Weberian approach of efficiency and rationality within organizations, were utilized to enhance performance (Weber, 1947). The Weberian approach relied on conventional organizational variables such as promotions, pay, stricter rule application and other traditional western incentives (Riggs, 1971; Esman, 1972; Price, 1976). It was widely believed, for example, that higher pay or stricter rules for public functionaries would outweigh any influence from the external environment.

In this study, it is hypothesized that exogenous factors such as ethnicity, kinship ties and similar attachments, are more salient in explaining bureaucratic performance in Cameroon than endogenous factors such as income, education, job security and upward mobility. Data for this study were collected from bureaucrats in Cameroon from September 25, to November 18, 1989.

The results of a bivarate and multivarate analyses were equivocal. Factors such as job security, rapid rate of advancement and adequate compensation were negatively correlated with performance while income and education showed a positive relationship. An endogenous index developed to determine the effect of a combination of factors showed a negative regression coefficient which was significant at p<0.05, thus suggesting that bureaucratic performance in Cameroon declined with the Weberian approach.

Results of contingency table analyses showed none of the individual exogenous variables were significant at p<0.05. Regression analyses showed a positive but insignificant relationship between the exogenous index and performance at p<0.12.

The results suggest that endogenous factors are more salient than the exogenous in explaining bureaucratic performance in Cameroon. However, their effect is not the same as what is expected under the Weberian model.



Performance, Cameroon -- Officials and employees -- Attitudes, Bureaucracy -- Cameroon