Review Article

Examining the interface between bureaucratic conflict and public interest in Africa

Chinyeaka J. Igbokwe-Ibeto
The Journal for Transdisciplinary Research in Southern Africa | Vol 17, No 1 | a874 | DOI: | © 2021 Chinyeaka J. Igbokwe-Ibeto | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 04 May 2020 | Published: 30 June 2021

About the author(s)

Chinyeaka J. Igbokwe-Ibeto, School of Public Management, Governance and Public Policy, College of Business, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa; and Department of Public Administration, Faculty of Management Sciences, Nnamdi Azikwe University, Awka, Nigeria


Background: In every human organisation, there is bound to be conflict of ideas because everyone wants his or her viewpoint to take precedent over others. There are those who want to be on top of every situation irrespective of those involved or the issue at stake. However, a proactive bureaucratic leadership should be able to find a way out of these quagmires.

Aim: Within the framework of the strategic elite theory, this article examines the nexus between bureaucratic conflict and public interest in Africa, as well as challenges confronting bureaucracy in the pursuit of public interest with specific reference to Nigeria.

Method: This article adopts a qualitative approach and is descriptive in nature, with the researcher setting out to illustrate the association that exists between the dependent and independent variables. Authoritative scholarly sources were reviewed during a desktop study. The purpose was to identify the relevant publications and apply them in the research.

Results: This article argues that whilst conflict generally is an inevitable outcome of human interactions. However, conflict is more common in a bureaucratic organisation where issues of power and influence are always a source of contention amongst the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs). Therefore, resolving the basis for the existence of the MDAs that will ultimately inculcate in the bureaucrats a new worldview.

Conclusion: It therefore, concludes that there should be countervailing forces to put the bureaucracy on check. This includes: strengthening interest groups, the pursuit of institutionalism, ethical reorientation in the public service, amongst other measures. However, to achieve this, requires a critical mass of men and women of integrity, doggedly and ruggedly committed to Africa’s project and ready to subsume their personal interests under that of the national interests.


efficiency; development; leadership; management; service delivery.


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