Assessment of the implementation of business processe-rengineering in the public sector in Ethiopia: the cases of the ministry of trade and industry and the ministry of works and urban development
The modern public sector and system of administration in Ethiopia began at the time of the imperial period, in the early 1960s. But this sector and the tradition of administration itself, compared with other countries, is not yet strong enough to play its role as a catalyst in the development and growth of the country. This study explores the wide array of public sector administration and reform practices in other countries and compares them with Ethiopia. More specifically, it looks into Business Process Re-engineering, a recently adopted type of reform, which originated in the private sector. Commonly termed BPR, Business Process Re-Engineering is a reform mechanism to uproot age-old systems of thinking and functioning in any organization and replace them with new paradigms and more efficient and lean systems that will lead to visible results. The literature reveals that it has had mixed results of improvement, both in the private sector and in the public sector in many countries. This study sets out to analyse whether this is just another fad of reform being adopted in order to fulfil a completely different objective of political reform, or whether it is a real effort to bring about changes in the way the public sector conducts its business. From its wide application in the country, two varying sectors have been chosen for this analysis. One is a service-giving institution in the Ministry of Trade and Industry, which has frequent interaction with citizens and, most importantly, investors and business organizations. The other sector is the policy, programming and legal framework designing institution in the Ministry of Works and Urban Development, an institution that depicts one of the core tasks of the public sector. As a result, the findings indicate mixed results in its application. In an institution where there are clearly defined tasks and deliverables, the BPR application seems to have generated visible results with potential continuity. On the other hand, in core public sector tasks, where government plays the regulatory and policy guiding roles, the initial outcomes of the re-engineering process do not look that promising. The newly designed and presented processes seem to be quite superficial, contrary to the principles of the BPR concept. In conclusion, re-engineering is not an across-the-board application when it comes to the public sector, as there are core functions of the government to which it does not apply. In addition, this leads the study to the conclusion that reforms are appropriate in the public sector, so long as they generate tangible results and changes.