“Today’s community expects public agencies to operate consistently and equitably. The community also expects that government at all levels will have systems in place to ensure this happens” (Queensland Ombudsman 1). However, the decision-making processes that characterise the functions of government departments are complex because they have far-reaching implications for a country. Since nation-building activities mainly rely on the principles of equality and equal opportunities for all (Engels 32), it is important that government agencies provide a sound framework for decision-making to uphold the principles of fairness and integrity. Their success mainly depends on the effectiveness of their decision-making frameworks.
This paper proposes a research plan to investigate the appropriate framework that Middle East governments (through their ministries) may adopt to come up with a sound decision-making framework for social and economic development. However, because different ministries have different functions, it is imperative to explore if one decision-making framework may apply to all the public agencies. This question is especially important in public administration because governments are required to work in harmony through the coordination of their functions. Stated differently, every government ministry, for example, works towards one goal of community and national development. Moreover, most government ministries work for a common authority (usually a president). Therefore, stemming from the commonality of purpose and the division of functions, this research proposal explores if there is a single framework for governments to make decisions, or if there needs to be a multifaceted decision-making approach that suits every ministry. These goals outline below
Proposed Research Questions
- To establish if all government ministries may use one decision-making structure to improve government efficiencies
- To investigate the extent that decision-making systems in Middle East governments differ from other systems around the world
- To find out if the commonality of purpose (nation-building) may cause significant commonalities in the decision-making systems of different government ministries
- To explore if the differences in scope and goals of different government ministries compromise the decision-making structure of governments
A multifaceted decision-making approach is the best decision-making model for government ministries.
Background of the Project
Traditionally, governments have exercised the sole mandate of addressing national and global problems (Wilson 399). A critical part of this exercise has been the government’s role in stimulating discussions between experts and advocates regarding nation-building activities. These discussions are positioned within a wider context of government functions and their role in improving national development (Wilson 399). The effective running of governments and other administrative authorities rests in the effective coordination of government activities and functions. This way, governments may enhance the coherence of their actions (OECD 96). Failure to do so may lead to the redundancy of government functions and the failure to achieve the intended objectives of government departments.
The adoption of a high-quality decision-making strategy for governments is crucial in achieving the above goals. However, a core challenge for governments and other institutions of leadership is convincing all stakeholders to move forward on issues that have no institutional mechanism for solving. Some of these issues may be highly complex and characterised by diffused authority or dispersed resources (Harvard University 5). Occasionally, such issues may have vague or conflicting goals that pit stakeholders against one another (Harvard University 5). Despite the challenges that exist in carrying out these government functions and the clash of interests that may equally stall the same process, people still expect government departments to be efficient and responsive to national needs.
The proposed research is strategically important in explaining how government ministries are supposed to strike the balance between national and private interests by ensuring that they meet the needs of all stakeholders. This balance prevails through the formulation of a sound decision-making framework that caters to all issues involved. The proposed study will be unique in the sense that it focuses on the Middle East region. Certainly, past studies have delved into the workings of democratic governments, but unlike such governments, non-democratic governments or very young democracies characterise the Middle East (Foley 102). This unique attribute similarly provides a special understanding of which decision-making frameworks apply in this context.
The proposed study intends to cover a wide scope of the decision-making activities in Middle East governments. Through this understanding, prior knowledge of the nature of Middle East governments and their structures may be useful in understanding the research topic. One particular secondary question that the proposed study aims to address is if the decision-making systems that characterise Middle East governments significantly differ from the decision-making structures that exist in other parts of the world. Through this understanding, the proposed research may achieve several objectives including increasing the coherence and functionality of government functions and further adding to the growing body of knowledge regarding the link between good governance and good decision-making systems.
The main research design for the proposed study will be the interpretive research approach. The interpretive research method is appropriate for the proposed study because it bears a lot of importance to the contextual issues that underlie decision-making (Institute of Public & International Affairs 1). These contextual factors manifest through the interpretive approach because the interpretive approach conducts scientific research from a near-experience perspective (Institute of Public & International Affairs 1). The interpretive approach will therefore provide the contextual meanings that underlie decision-making activities within government departments by positioning the people (human actors) at the centre of the scientific explanations that inform decision-making processes (Packer 1).
Interviews will provide the main sources of primary data for the proposed study. The proposed study will use interviews to get a better understanding of the view of the respondents (Walsham 323). The study will also use secondary research sources as supplementary data materials. The secondary sources will include credible online publications and peer-reviewed journals. The main area of knowledge that informs the proposed research includes political theory, public administration, comparative politics, and public law. These areas of knowledge will be important to the proposed study because they explain government activities and functions.
The proposed research will use a mix of theoretical and empirical research methods. The empirical research method because interpretive research uses inductive or deductive reasoning (Bolaños 877). The theoretical basis for conducting the proposed study manifests as a supplementary approach because of the inclusion of published materials in the research process. Since the proposed research focuses on governance issues, some of the problems that may arise by adopting the above research methods include the lack of full cooperation from government agencies and the difficulty of obtaining information from a large scope of government departments.
The proposed study will use the grounded data analysis method. Since the grounded theory works through the collection and analysis of data, the data analysis process may start from the onset of the data collection process and proceed to the end of the process (Manuj 784). Once the data collection and transcription processes are complete, it is easy to progress to a different data analysis stage, which is the development of an indexing system for the data analysis process. At the end of the data analysis process, a series of categories, concepts, and codes that explain the research question manifest.
The main ethical issues of the proposed research include confidentiality, respondent’s safety, and informed consent. To safeguard the safety of the respondents, the research will not publish the names of the respondents. The respondents will therefore provide their information anonymously without any fear of incrimination. Moreover, before the respondents participate in the study, they will have to provide informed consent to acknowledge that the researcher did not coerce them to participate in the study.
The proposed paper seeks to interview ten respondents who have extensive knowledge in public administration and governance. The criterion for sourcing the respondents will be open to any credible individual who has extensive knowledge regarding public governance systems in the country or the decision-making process that informs the activities of different government agencies. This open-sourcing method provides an opportunity for obtaining diverse information from different professionals and technocrats who may have worked in an influential position within the government or in a public watchdog firm that holds credible information regarding the government’s decision-making processes.
Bolaños, Ricardo. “Using interpretive structural modelling in strategic decision-making groups.” Management Decision, 43.6 (2005): 877 – 895. Print.
Engels, Friedrich. Socialism: Utopian and Scientific, New York: Cosimo, Inc., 2008. Print.
Foley, Malcolm. “Policy pragmatism: Qatar and the global events circuit.” International Journal of Event and Festival Management 3.1 (2012): 101 – 115. Print.
Harvard University. Decision Making for Leaders: A Synthesis of Ideas from the Harvard University Advanced Leadership Initiative Think Tank, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University, 2012. Print.
Institute of Public & International Affairs. What Is Interpretive Research? Web.
Manuj, Ila. “A reviewer’s guide to the grounded theory methodology in logistics and supply chain management research.” International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management 42.8 (2012): 784 – 803. Print.
OECD. Strategic Decision Making: Ministerial, New York: OECD Publishing, 2011. Print.
Packer, Martin. What is Interpretive Research? Web.
Queensland Ombudsman. Good Decision-Making Guide, Queensland: Queensland Ombudsman, 2007. Print.
Walsham, Geoff. “Doing interpretive research.” European Journal of Information Systems 15.1 (2006): 320–330. Print.
Wilson, John. “The changing role of local government managers in a transitional economy: Evidence from the Republic of Kazakhstan.” International Journal of Public Sector Management 15.5 (2002): 399 – 411.