Ghana: New Book on Bureaucratic Effectiveness in Developing States Launched

The author of the book, Erin Metz McDonnell, Kellogg Assistant Professor of Sociology of the University of Notre Dame

Accra, Ghana//-A new book titled “Patchwork Leviathan: Pockets of Bureaucratic Effectiveness in Developing States” has been launched in Accra, with a call on Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya and others to use homegrown solutions or expertise to address their challenges.

The call, which was made by the author of the book, Erin Metz McDonnell, Kellogg Assistant Professor of Sociology of the University of Notre Dame, explained that these experts know the environment or terrain much better than their foreign counterparts.

She used her scholarly book to dissuade the minds of people in the Western world that bureaucratic systems in developing countries are not gloomy.

There are pockets of bureaucratic excellence in Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Brazil and the rest of the developing states, Prof McDonnell, added.

According to her, some groups within these states are distinctly more effective and public oriented than the rest.

The incisive book which is based on nearly two years of pioneering fieldwork in Ghana explained how these highly effective pockets differ from the Western bureaucracies on which so much state and organizational theory is based.

It therefore provides a fresh answer to why well-funded global capacity-building reforms fail and how they can do better.

Reviewing the book, a Ghanaian lecturer at the Department of Political Science of Concordia University, US, Prof Frank Ohemeng described the work of Prof McDonnell in the comprehensive book as “very deep and thorough”.

For the Director of the Centre for Social Political Studies of the University of Ghana, Prof Nana Akua Anyidoho, “The book presents what work in the African state”.

Cover of the book

She however observed that in the past, researchers and writers from the west used to present very dim views about the African state.

On his part, a lecturer at the Department of Public Administration and Health Services Management of the University of Ghana, Dr Emmanuel Ayisi, who described the methodology used in gathering information for the book as “very broad”, called on managers to nurture small groups of bureaucracies and spread them across the organizations.

The 290-page book is on sale, presents a vivid analysis of how certain state agencies or services within some agencies distinct themselves to become effective, efficient and responsive in an institutionally challenging environment.

African Eye Report