Hazards of Thinking Outside the Box: When Bureaucracy Blocks Success


  • Judith Papenhausen California State University, San Marcos


This narrative describes how the bureaucratic function of a large and complex system can block the progress and movement of creative and innovative programs. In the university setting, academic program administrators are encouraged to "think outside the box" and devise new and innovative programs. When programs created to produce win-win situations between an academic nursing program and external health care partners became very successful, they were subjected to increased scrutiny by the system even after being vetted through proper channels. The result of the detection of an unconventional or novel program is to assign an overseer to initially investigate what "rules" are being bypassed and what risks exist to the system. The result is a slow-down in program implementation and a risk of dissatisfaction for the external partners, as the program process may now be subject to renegotiation.


How to Cite

Papenhausen, J. (2014). Hazards of Thinking Outside the Box: When Bureaucracy Blocks Success. Reflections: Narratives of Professional Helping, 12(2), 72–75. Retrieved from https://reflectionsnarrativesofprofessionalhelping.org/index.php/Reflections/article/view/1074



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