Ishtiaq Jamil's picture

Inter-organizational Coordination in Urban Governance in Bangladesh: A Tale of Two Cities

The purpose of this paper is to map inter-organizational coordination in urban govern- ance in Bangladesh. Focusing on two city corporations in Bangladesh, it analyzes their coordination, both vertically and horizontally, with public and non-public organizations. Does the inter-organizational coordination resemble a hierarchic-, market-, or network- based relationship, or a combination of these? The findings reveal that when rules and laws are outdated, redundant, and unclear, they make hierarchically based central-local relations ambiguous. Market-based coordination is problematic because the rules of the game are frequently disobeyed and generally ignored. Network-based coordination is more useful when there is trust, mutual reciprocity and a history of coordination. What works, then, in the case of urban governance in Bangladesh, is informal network-based coordination rooted in personal relationships, old school ties, familial and regional con- tacts, and party loyalism. This informalism is perpetuated because there is no mecha- nism to store coordinated efforts in organizational memory. Coordination initiatives therefore seldom develop into routine affairs. The general outcomes of the neglect of formal rules include the duplication of work, delays in service delivery, the waste of public money, and corruption.
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