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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Incremental But Not Disjointed: The Evolution of the Civil Service in Colonial Nyasaland
Author:Baker, Colin A.ISNI
Periodical:International Journal of African Historical Studies
Geographic terms:Malawi
Great Britain
civil service
civil service reform
History and Exploration
Labor and Employment
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/221086
Abstract:Prominent among policy analysis and decisionmaking theories is that known as 'incrementalism'. According to this theory decisions have six majors features: they involve taking only small - incremental - steps at a time, they are marginal, serial, remedial, they reflect an adjustment of ends to means, and they are disjointed in that they result from the discussion and examination of policy issues being carried out at numerous points in society. This article examines whether incrementalist government decisionmaking, typical and possibly inevitable in pluralist democratic societies, is less typical in elitist, highly centralized governments, such as colonial Nyasaland (Malawi). It shows that the Nyasaland government enjoyed a high degree of decisionmaking autonomy. Nonetheless, changes in the Nyasaland civil service establishment over the period 1891-1964 were overwhelmingly small in both absolute and relative terms, adhered to the status quo, were regular, remedial, and adjusted the ends aimed at to the means available. Three factors either induced or reinforced the government's propensity to be incrementalist: the budget system was one of annual appropriation, and the civil service was both functionally departmentalized and traditionally economy-oriented because of the usually severe limitations of available funds. Notes, ref.