Bureaucratic Entrepreneurship: Administrative Behavioral Changes and E-Government Advancement in Bangladesh

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Zaman, Hasanuzzaman




This study analyzes how a postcolonial democracy like Bangladesh is experimenting with electronic or e-Government agendas, to address challenges in public service delivery traditions and processes, through soft administrative reforms. The mainstream literature on Bangladesh focuses on how the dual colonial legacy structured bureaucrats' behavior within the post-independence political context, making it unresponsive to societal needs. Taking a cue from this, the present study investigates the political, structural, and behavioral conditions which impeded successive public administration reforms overtime in Bangladesh, and analyzes the conditions which may have influenced administrative behavior for e-Government implementation. It looks at the power struggles at the higher levels of bureaucracy, and its effect on the implementation of public administration reforms. The dissertation uses a mixed-method approach: content analysis, interviews, and survey findings. An analysis of secondary literature charts out the colonial formation of the Bangladesh bureaucracy, how it endured and resisted reforms under different regimes, and how the onset of Digital Bangladesh created new political expectations of the public administration. This study demonstrates mechanisms through which ideas generated by different international models such as New Public Management (NPM), digital era governance (DEG), New Public Governance (NPG) and design thinking (DT), were applied nationally to make the Weberian-colonial bureaucracy more entrepreneurial and citizen-centric. The study explores how these models influenced the design of capacity building initiatives, some of which continued despite politicization of the bureaucracy, and set the ground for e-Government transformation under Digital Bangladesh. A survey of field-level bureaucrats, who attended an empathy training program, was carried out for identifying behavioral and organizational determinants of successful e-Government innovation. Results from a multivariate logistic regression identified entrepreneurial orientation of the bureaucracy as one of the key determinants of successful innovation. The present study emphasizes that bureaucratic entrepreneurship can be observed in emerging post-NPM approaches such as NPG, DEG and DT. It concludes with the policy, practical and research implications arguing that Weberian-colonial bureaucracies in developing countries require political and administrative support in the form of policies, strategies, and innovation toolkits, for implementing e-Government innovation, within the administrative bounds of the system.


Public Administration




Carleton University

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Thesis Degree Discipline: 

Public Policy

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Theses and Dissertations

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