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In view of the fact that ethics and morality are the norms of
every descent society, and the bedrock on which wholesome, efficient
just and prosperous bureaucracy can be built upon, there is the need
to stress on the importance of efficiency in the civil service. There is
no gain saying the fact that effective, efficient, patriotic, and
committed public servants who should be accountable for their
stewardship are desirable for any nation to match forward.
However, it is of note that our civil servants have become
reckless and blatant. Our civil servants now bend the rules and are
involved in wide spectrum of acts such as accepting gratification,
concealing offences relating to corruption, fraudulent acquisition of
property, fraudulent receipt of property, deliberate frustration of
investigation, making false statements or returns, bribery of public
officials, dealing with property acquired through gratification.
Also worthy of note among many civil servants include,
unethical behaviour such as refusal to proceed on transfer or accept
posting, habitual lateness to work, deliberate delay in treating official
document, unauthorized removal of public records immoral and unruly
behaviour, foul language, lethargy, apathy, laziness, rudeness to
members of the public, malingering, presenting false sick certificates
in order to go and attend to private businesses and a host of other
deplorable attitudes. This is the area in which the civil service is in
need of immediate drastic attention.
The public expect the civil servants to demonstrate initiative,
resourcefulness, and managerial skill. These could be achieved
through strict observance of administrative ethics. This research
project examines critically the concepts of administrative ethics with
reference to its application in the civil service.
In the 19th century, a British liberal Lord Acton said “All power
tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. Though
power is hardly ever be absolute, it is expected that those in authority
should act within the framework of the law. Administrative executives
should be limited by what their subjects and subordinates stand for. It
is important to remind those who wield authority to the members of
the public that the power enjoyed by them is to enable them achieve
the goals of the government.
Authority in the civil service has to be for the general welfare of
the public and not for the private or personal gains of departmental or
divisional heads. Authority should not be exercised in a manner to
advance the interest of a family, clique or ethnic group. Officers in
authority should ensure that all those under them are given the same
opportunities in accordance with laid down principles and rules.
Preferential treatment for any officer or class amounts to favoritism.
It is often said of an individual that if character is lost, everything
is lost, it is in a bid to ensure and sustain good character and high
professional conduct that administrative ethics are enshrined in the
civil service hand book, public service rules and financial regulations
for use-by civil servants for strict adherence so as to ensure efficiency
in services delivery .
Bureaucratic efficiency could be achieved through adherence to
administrative ethics. It is a state in which civil servants discharge
their official duties in strict compliance with public laws and
regulations and in keeping with public will. It means being pedantic. It
is a moral and legal liability of public officers to discharge their lawful
duties for which they are paid from public purse in accordance with
the terms of their appointment and in keeping with the statutory
provisions governing the lawful performance of their duties. It is the
moral principles required of civil servants in the course of their daily
Administrative ethics is an essential condition for civil service
efficiency and high productivity and a solid foundation for the growth
and development of the bureaucracy It enhances public
accountability, great responsiveness to public interest and general
public satisfaction. It instills in the civil servants high standard of
conduct. In fact the importance of administrative ethics cannot be
Britain was the first country that developed a democratic type of
professional code for the civil servants. Till date, the British civil
service is well known for its efficiency Nigeria after its independence
borrowed its civil service pattern from Britain. Since then, the country
has developed a professional code of ethics for its civil service.
However, it contains authoritarian, bureaucratic and other non
democratic elements besides the usual ethics. They are contained in
the civil services handbook.
The interest of the researcher was drawn following cases of
inefficiency in the civil service. For this reason, the researcher
considers it necessary to evaluate the bureaucracy and determine
factors that hinder its efficiency and suggest ways of enhancing its
The Nigerian bureaucracy has indeed come long way from its
inception during the colonial era till the present. It has received some
kudos and many hard knocks. It has been reformed, ‗reviewed‘,
restructured, yet has remained basically the same.
While some Nigerians see the bureaucracy as been indolent,
corrupt, over bloated, a drain pipe and a cemetery for good
government policies and programmes, yet some see it as victim of
bad political leadership which has been one of the greatest
challenges facing Nigeria bureaucracy today.
Bureaucratic inefficiency has now posed serious concern in the
civil service. It distorts the smooth operations of the entire civil
service. It has resulted in unproductively and adversely affects he
efficient delivery of public goods and services.
It is on the bases of the above that the researcher intends to
tackle such nagging issues like, what is the place of the bureaucracy
in the functioning of government?, what factors are responsible for
this bureaucratic inefficiency? What impact has the civil service made
towards restoring efficiency in the bureaucracy etc.
The major objective of this research work is to assess effects
and causes inefficiency of the bureaucracy in with a view to offering
suggestions on how to make them to be more efficient. To achieve
this, the researcher wishes ;
(i) to elaborate on the role of the bureaucracy.
(ii) to find out the causes of inefficiency in the bureaucracy.
(iii) to Identify and examine factors that can promote efficiency in
the bureaucracy.
(iv) to stress on the need for adhering to administrative ethics as a
sure way of achieving efficiency in the bureaucracy.
1. Of what importance is the bureaucracy in the society?
2. In what ways do inefficiency of the bureaucracy affect social
services delivery?
3. How may efficiency in the bureaucracy be improved?
4. Do civil servants understand and adhere to administrative
This work is well researched, up to date and comprehensive.
Hence, it is going to be of immense help to a good number of persons
or group. The work will be of great help to policy makers as useful
suggestions have been made on suitable bureaucratic practices
which if adopted would help the bureaucracy to be more efficient. To
the civil servants, this work has created awareness on the roles
expected of them by the society and how to efficiently deliver services
to the people. Also, to the students and other scholars, this work will
enlighten them on how to carry out academic research and teach
them indept knowledge about bureaucracy and efficiency
This work is limited to the topic Bureaucracy and efficiency. The
focus is on three ministries in Enugu State namely ministry of
Education, information and justice. The work therefore centres on the
activities of the civil service in their strive towards providing services
to the citizenry
This research work limited by the time span within which the
researcher is expected to complete it. Again, for the fact that this
research work is carried out when the researcher was doing her
course work including preparing for examination made the work very
complex for her o actually concentrated very well on this research
work. Finance was another constraint. Due to some financial
constraints, the researcher could not travel to far places to get all the
necessary data for the work. There was the problem of shortage of
materials for the completion of the work. There was also the problem
of some respondents not willing to disclose some important
information to the researcher for fear of losing their bob. The high
cost of newspaper journals magazines and text books did not help
(1) Bureaucracy: According to Garston (2006) bureaucracy refers
to an organization of nonelected officials of government or
organizations who implement the rules, laws and functions of
their institution.
(2) Efficiency: According to Harvey (2007), efficiency is the ratio of
inputs to out puts. In other words, it is all about how to achieve
the output with fewer resources.
(3) Administrative Ethics. A state in which civil servants
discharge their official duties in strict compliance with public
laws and regulations and in keeping with public will.
(4) Red-Tapism; Excessive adherence to bureaucratic orders, too
much attention to rules and regulations by civil servants in the
performance of official functions.
(5) Administrative value: According to Kerhaghan (1973), it is an
enduring belief that in administrative decision making a
particular mode of conduct is personally or socially preferable to
alternative modes of conduct.
(6) Code of conduct: A set of laws, rules and standard of conduct
which civil servants must abide by .
(7) Civil service commission: A body responsible for the
appointment, discipline, transfer, promotion, retirement of civil
servants of grade level seven and above.
The theoretical framework adopted by the researcher is the
bureaucratic theory. The bureaucratic theory emphasizes the
application of ―idea type‖ for rational attainment of the efficiency in
organization. The bureaucratic theory was developed by Max Weber.
According to Marx Weber, the Idea type is a mental map or mental
construct. This idea type as designed by Max Weber (In his book the
theory of social and economic organization which was translated by
Talcott Parsons and A.M. Henderson in 1947) has the following
(i) The bureaucrats are subject to authority only in official
capacities and they are personally free.
(ii) They are organized in a clearly organized hierarchy of offices,
that is each lower office is under the control and supervision of
a higher one
(iii) Each office has a clearly defined sphere of competence in the
legal sense. A specified sphere of competence involves,
(a) A sphere of obligations to perform functions which has
been marked off.
(b) The provision of the incumbent with the necessary
authority to carry out these functions.
(c) That the necessary means of compulsion are clearly
defined and their use is subject to definite conditions.
(iv) The office is filled by a free contractual relationship. Thus, in
principle, there is free selection.
(v) The officials are selected on the basis of technical qualification.
This is tested by examination or guaranteed by diplomas
certifying technical training or both. They are appointed not
(vi) The officials are remunerated by fixed salaries and usually have
the right of persons. The official is always free to resign and his
appointment can also be terminated by the employing authority
under retain circumstances. The salary scale is primarily graded
according to his rank in the hierarchy but in addition to this
criterion, the responsibility of the position and the requirement
of the incumbent‘s social status may be taken into account.
vii. The office is treated as the sole occupation of the incumbent.
viii. It constitutes a career with system of promotion according to
seniority or achievement, or both. Promotion is dependent on
the judgment of superiors.
ix. The Official works entirely separated from ownership of the
means of administration and without appropriation of his
x. He is subject to strict and systematic discipline and control in
the conduct of office.
According to Weber the purely bureaucratic type of
administrative organization (ie the monocratic variety of bureaucracy)
is from a purely technical point of view capable of attaining the
highest degree of efficiency. Thus, it is the most rationally known
means of carrying out imperative control over human beings. It is
superior to any other form of organization in precision, stability,
discipline and reliability. It thus makes possible a high degree of
calculability of result for the heads of the organization.
Meanwhile, the researcher relied on the idea type bureaucracy
as advocated by Marx Weber to measure or assess the efficiency of
the public service.


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