to attract individuals with high levels of involvement and connectedness. Therefore, it is important for both top management and political leadership in public organizations to understand what makes managers “tick”.
Consistent with much research in organizational sociology and public administration, we do find that structural mechanisms for organizational control have an influence on work alienation. Centralized decision-making mechanisms, in of themselves, reduce organizational commitment and job satisfaction. But does this necessarily mean that public organizations need to take steps to decentralize decision- making? When we combine our findings on centralization, with the positive effects of formalization on job satisfaction, decentralized decision-making does sound like an idea that has potential. Although decentralization may sound like a reasonable proposition in the abstract, the extent and the manner of decentralization can have significant consequences for the legitimacy and effectiveness of public organizations. Indeed, there may be limits to which decentralization may be carried out if the needs for adequate management control and political control of the public service are to be satisfied.
However, the public sector can do more to ameliorate the red tape that managers face. First, it helps to recognize the limits of strategies that seek to reduce red tape. So, when it comes to job involvement, we find that red tape has no noticeable effect on it. Therefore, efforts to increase job involvement are better addressed through the recruitment process -- better recruitment practices that identify individuals who have a higher sense of job involvement and public service motivation may be more helpful than reducing red tape. On the other hand, even after we control for other factors, red tape has a strong influence on organizational commitment and job satisfaction. Furthermore, in terms of magnitude these effects are comparable to effects due to centralization and formalization. We find that personnel red tape, in particular, has strong influence on organizational commitment and job satisfaction. Efforts to better understand personnel red tape and other dimensions of red tape in public organizations can ultimately provide us with superior approaches to reducing work alienation. Related research on this topic is also bringing to the fore the fact that efforts to reduce red tape, in addition to specific organizational changes, need to be based on a better understanding of cognitive processes underlying managerial assessments of red tape.