Bureaucracy and Crisis of Development in Prismatic Cum Post-Colonial African States: An Ethical Review

  • Ifeanyichukwu Michael Abada
  • Nneka Ifeoma Okafor
  • Paul Hezekiah Omeh


The continued and fragile existence of administrative states in Africa had been attributed to the government’s inability to deliver on the needs and demands of the constituents. African states, like other states that emerged through social contracts, had been bequeathed with enormous functions upon her citizens, and the actualization and delivery of these functions are paramount concerns of its bureaucracy, which has failed to reposition itself to provide the needful indicators of development in the administrative states of Africa. The history of Africa’s bureaucracy and bureaucratization regimes had never delivered on the good promises and dividends of democracy and national development; rather, it has retarded and brought about an intractable crisis in the development of Africa. However, it is against this backdrop that the purpose and thrust of the study is to adequately investigate and appreciate the nexus between bureaucracy and development in Africa, its role in continued existence of post-colonial economies. Methodologically, the study utilized qualitative method while generating its data and the framework of analysis was strictly anchored on Riggsian theory of prismatic society. The findings of the study had revealed that the inability of the various administrative states in post-colonial cum prismatic societies to accentuate development strides was holistically tied to variables of bureau pathetic behaviour. The study strongly recommends, among others, an orientation, training and capacity building for national growths and development.


  1. Abah, N. C. (2009). Development administration: A multi-disciplinary approach. Enugu: John Jacob’s Classic Publishers.Google Scholar
  2. Adebayo, A. (2001). Principles and practices of public administration. Ibadan: Spectrum Books.Google Scholar
  3. Ademolekun, L. (1986). Politics and administration in Nigeria. Ibadan: Spectrum Books.Google Scholar
  4. Adesopo, A. A., & Aluko, M. A. O. (2004). An appraisal of the two faces of bureaucracy in relation to the Nigeria society. Journal of Social Sciences, 8(6), 13–21.Google Scholar
  5. Adeyemo, D. O., & Osunyikanmi, R. O. (2009). Political influence on bureaucratic growth and social responsiveness: A case of Ondo state, Nigeria. Journal of Public Administration and Policy Research, 1(6), 117–124.Google Scholar
  6. Akume, T. (2012). Focusing beyond the stigma of bureaucratic inefficiency to building a competence base bureaucracy in Nigeria. The imperative of training. Arabian Journal of Business and Management, 1(3), 81–96.Google Scholar
  7. Alam, M. S. (1989). Anatomy of corruption: An approach to the political economy of underdevelopment. American Journal of Economics and Sociology, 48(4), 452.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Ali, W. O. (1980). Popular participation and rural development. Journal of Public Administration and Local Government, 4(2), 27–33.Google Scholar
  9. Apter, D. E. (1963). Ghana in transition. New York: Antheneum.Google Scholar
  10. Arora, R. K. (1979). Comparative administration. New Delhi: Associated Publishing House.Google Scholar
  11. Arora, R. K., & Feror, N. (1986). Comparative administration. An ecological perspective. New Delhi: Associated Publishing House.Google Scholar
  12. Bata, K. O. (1978). Bureaucracy, development and public management in India. New Delhi: Uppal Publishing House.Google Scholar
  13. Blau, P. M., & Mayer, M. W. (1966). Bureaucracy in modern society. New York: Harper and Row Publishers.Google Scholar
  14. Chapman, R. A., & Dunsire, N. T. (1971). The high civil service in Britain. London: Constable.Google Scholar
  15. Dahl, R. (1974). The science of public administration: Three problems. New York: PAR Publisher.Google Scholar
  16. Downs, A. (1967). Inside bureaucracy. London: Little Brown.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Doxey, G. V. (1961). The industrial colour bar in South Africa. Cape Town: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Dube, J. C. (1971). The bureaucracy and nation building. In W. R. Gable (Ed.), Political development and social change. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  19. Duru, E. J. C. (2001). The bureaucratic set up and operations in Britain, France,the United States and Nigeria: A comparative analysis. In E. J. C. Duru, M. O. Ikejiani-Clark, & D. O. Mbat (Eds.), Contemporary issues in public administration (pp. 30–40). Calabar/Benini: BAAJ International Company and The Atlantic Publishing Company.Google Scholar
  20. Dwivedi, O. P., & Jain, R. B. (1985). Indian’s administrative state. New Delhi: Gitanjali Publishing House.Google Scholar
  21. Eme, O., & Onwuka, C. (2010). Bureaucracy and challenges of good governance in Nigeria. Journal of Business and Organizational Development, 2(1), 37–50.Google Scholar
  22. Enahoro, N. I. (2016). The role of bureaucracy in good governance in Nigeria. International Journal of Advanced Legal Studies and Governance, 6(1), 46.Google Scholar
  23. Gillespic, K., & Okruhlik, G. (1991). The political dimensions of corruption cleanups: A framework of analysis. Journal Comparative politics, 24(1), 87–89.Google Scholar
  24. Hazlett, T. W. (1988). Economic origin of apartheid. Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, 6(4), 85–104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Heady, F. (1991). Public administration, a comparative perspective (4th ed.). New York: Marcel Dekker.Google Scholar
  26. Heady, F. (1992). Bureaucracies, government and politics. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  27. Hicks, H. G., & Ray, G. C. (1995). Organization, theory and behaviour. New Delhi: Mac Graw Hill International Book.Google Scholar
  28. Hutt, H. W. (1964). The economics of the colour Bar. London: Institute of Economic Affairs.Google Scholar
  29. Jabbra, J. G. (1976). Bureaucratic corruption in the third world: Causes and remedies. Indian Journal of Public Administration, 22(6), 18–24.Google Scholar
  30. Martin, R. (1967). The ecology of a squatter settlement. Architectural Review, 145, 233–214.Google Scholar
  31. Mbaku, J. M. (1996). Bureaucratic corruption in Africa: The futility of clean ups. The CATO Journal, 6(1), 4–11.Google Scholar
  32. Merton, R. K. (1968). Social theory and social structure. New Delhi: Amerind Publishing.Google Scholar
  33. Nwachukwu, C. C. (1988). Management theory and practice. Onitsha: African FEP Publishers.Google Scholar
  34. Nweke, E. (2006). Public policy analysis: A strategic approach. Enugu: John Jacobs Publishers.Google Scholar
  35. Nwizu, G. (1999). Eminent administrative thinkers from Taylor to present day. Enugu: John Jacob’s Classic Publishers.Google Scholar
  36. Obikeze, S. O., & Obi, E. A. (2014). Public administration in Nigeria: A developmental approach. Onitsha: Book Point.Google Scholar
  37. Obiora, C. A. (2014). Reform process and the advancement of sustainable development in Nigeria: Rethinking the role of the public bureaucracy. Journal of Public Administration and Management, 3(6), 106–119.Google Scholar
  38. Odegard, P. H. (1954). Toward a responsible bureaucracy. American Academy of Political and Social Science, 292(1), 18–29. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Ogunna, A. E. C. (2007). Public administration in Nigeria: Theory and practice. Owerri: Versatile Publishers.Google Scholar
  40. Okafor, E. E. (2005). Public bureaucracy and development in Nigeria: A critical overview of impediments to public service delivery. CODESRIA Bulletin, 3&4, 67–69.Google Scholar
  41. Olaniyi, M. A. (2008). Public administration in South Africa: Changes and continuities. In E. A. Obi, O. S. A. Obikeze, L. C. Nwachuwu, & M. I. Abada (Eds.), Readings on comparative public administration: Theory and select country studies. Onitsha: Book Point Educational.Google Scholar
  42. Riggs, F. W. (1964). Public administration in developing countries: The theory of prismatic society. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.Google Scholar
  43. Sharma, M. P., & Sadana, B. L. (2010). Public administration in theory and practice. Allahabael: Kitab Mahal.Google Scholar
  44. United Nations. (1963). Trade and development: Trends, needs and policies. New York: Department of Economics and Social Affairs.Google Scholar
  45. Victor, A. T. (1961). Modern organization. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.Google Scholar
  46. Wagner, R. E., & Gwartney, J. D. (1988). Public choice and constitutional order. Greenwich: JAI Press.Google Scholar
  47. Weber, M. (1964). The theory of social and economic organization. New York: The Free Press.Google Scholar
  48. Weber, M. (1978). Bureaucracy. In J. M. Shfritz & P. H. Whitbeck (Eds.), Classics of organization theory. Oak Park: Moore Publishing.Google Scholar
  49. Williams, W. E. (1989). South Africa’s war against capitalism. Pretoria: Foundation for Economic Education.Google Scholar
  50. World Bank. (1995). Bureaucrats in business: The economics and politics of government ownership. Washington, DC: World Bank. Retrieved from World Bank Policy Research Report.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ifeanyichukwu Michael Abada
    • 1
  • Nneka Ifeoma Okafor
    • 1
  • Paul Hezekiah Omeh
    • 1
  1. 1.University of NigeriaNsukkaNigeria

Personalised recommendations