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Challenges Of Bureaucracy In Nigeria Civil Services


This study was on Challenges of bureaucracy in Nigeria civil services. The total population for the study is 200 selected staffs of secretariat, Uyo. The researcher used questionnaires as the instrument for the data collection. Descriptive Survey research design was adopted for this study. A total of 133 respondents made directors, secretaries, administrative staffs and junior staff were used for the study. The data collected were presented in tables and analyzed using simple percentages and frequencies.

Chapter one


  • Background of the study

Bureaucracy as a system of administration was projected to be the ideal and more efficient system of management in both public and private organizations/institutions. As an ideal model where emphasis is laid on rules, regulation, authority, officialdom and technical qualifications as the criteria for selection into both public and private organizations etc, the system was well articulated by a German Sociologist Max Webber to enhance efficiency through the application of clearly coin characteristic. However, in recent times the inefficiency witness in most Nigerian ministries, parastatals and agencies has been attributed to the bureaucratic bottleneck in the civil service. Bureaucracy is the bedrock of the public sector organizations; however, the bureaucracy of governmental institutions has become a burden and has made the civil service inefficient, hence staff performance. The inefficiency of most civil service organizations in Nigeria lead to the establishment of Service Compact with all Nigerians “SEVICOM” on the 21st March 2004 during the administration of president Olusegun Obasanjo in an attempt to reduce the inefficiency in the civil service and as well enhance performance. Bureaucracy in the Nigerian civil service has endured a considerable measure of difficulties because of its various issues. In the area of service delivery, numerous nationals have lost trust in bureaucratic establishment with responsibilities of ensuring public services. However, Arnold (2014) emphasized that absolutely bureaucratic sort of administrative institutions is capable of attaining greater level of proficiency. The imperativeness of democracy depends on the ability of state institutions to deliver essential services and to resolves the problems that confront the society and this thus depends to a great extent on sincerity, competence, and inspiration of experts in the civil service (Gertrude, 2014).

However, the tasks of large scale administration and organization of management which are the concern of bureaucracy involves the challenge of controlling, managing and coordinating large scale tasks. Bureaucratic principles are, therefore, relevant to organizations or administrations both private and public which engineer societal development. Salawu (2000:34) observed that Weber has seen bureaucratic organization as the privilege instrumentality that can shape the modern polity, the modern economy, and the modern technology.

Bureaucracy is a rational structure of coordinating human and material resources into a complex setting handled by professionals or experts (Agboola, 2016). Bureaucratic organisations are intended to be orderly, fair and very proficient. However, despite the beneficial aspect of bureaucracy in enhancing organizational efficiency, the civil service in Nigeria has some noteworthy negative reactions. A lot of red-tapism and paper work most times leads to unpleasant experience and ineffective operations. Also, since most workers depend to a large extent on rules and regulations, their flexibility, creativity and innovations suffers considerably in public service. Similarly, issues of rigidities, resistance to change, impersonality of relation and excess aloofness are often noticeable in public service bureaucracy. The way personnel are appointed into administrative positions is extremely politicized based on favoritism and tribalism. Personnel without adequate knowledge and credentials sometimes are designated into sensitive positions and this impact negatively on policies formulation and service delivery in the service.

Statement of the problem

Bureaucracy in Nigeria civil service is faced with many challenges that hamper its effective role in governance and development in the country. Bureaucracy is a form of administration that is based on rules and legitimate utilization of formal authority in organisations (Uwah, 2017). However, it is observably that bureaucracy in the Nigerian Civil Service is challenged by a number of issues such as rigidity of duties, lack of flexibility and creativity to respond to the dynamics of modern organizations. Also, tribalism, nepotism and favoritism in the recruitment and designation of personnel into sensitive administrative positions. This issues leads to poor policy formulations and implementation which give rise to abysmal service delivery, lack of accountability and corruption in the Nigerian Civil Service. Furthermore, the pinnacle-like structure which interfaces with communication in the civil service and matters requiring urgent consideration are most times “swept under the carpet” as a result of the bureaucratic bottlenecks. Observably, this bottlenecks most times hinder the implementation of people oriented policies and programmes, since this polices must pass through the “pinnacle” for approvals. These issues promote impunity, corruption and nepotism in the service. Similarly, monitoring and evaluation of performance of personnel in the federal civil service especially the placement of personnel in sensitive administrative position is a big challenge, Most times based on tribal and religious sentiment. This action promotes truancy and inefficiency in the civil service as most staff handles their work with levity, resuming late to work and leaving before official closing hours. Also, there are noticeable issues of god-fatherism in contract sharing by dubious personnel’s in the service who represent the interest of their “godfathers” that influence their appointment into such sensitive position. These issues hinder the execution of contracts in the federal civil service. In view of these issues, it becomes timely to present a critique of the bureaucratic theory of management with particular reference to the Nigerian Civil service.

Objective of the study

The objectives of the study are;

  1. To determine the effect of hierarchical arrangement staff in the Nigeria Civil Service.
  2. To ascertain the effect of over rigidity of duties in the Nigeria Civil Service.
  3. To examine the impact of management by formal rule in the Nigeria Civil Service.
  4. To ascertain the challenges of bureaucracy in Nigeria civil services

Research hypotheses

For the successful completion of the study, the following research hypotheses were formulated by the researcher;

H0: there are no challenges of bureaucracy in Nigeria civil services

H1: there are challenges of bureaucracy in Nigeria civil services

H02: there is no effect of hierarchical arrangement staff in the Nigeria Civil Service.

H2: there is effect of hierarchical arrangement staff in the Nigeria Civil Service.

Significance of the study

The study will be very significant to students and Nigerian government. The study will give a clear insight on Challenges of bureaucracy in Nigeria civil services. The study will also serve as a reference to other researcher that will embark on the related topic

Scope and limitation of the study

The scope of the study covers Challenges of bureaucracy in Nigeria civil services. The researcher encounters some constrain which limited the scope of the study;

  1. a) AVAILABILITY OF RESEARCH MATERIAL: The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study
  2. b) TIME: The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.


Bureaucracy: Bureaucracy refers to both a body of non-elected government officials and an administrative policy-making group. Historically, a bureaucracy was a government administration managed by departments staffed with non-elected officials.

civil service: The civil service is a collective term for a sector of government composed mainly of career bureaucrats hired on professional merit rather than appointed or elected, whose institutional tenure typically survives transitions of political leadership.


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