Abstract We study the relationship between management practices, organizational performance, and task clarity, using observational data analysis on an original survey of the universe of Ghanaian civil servants across 45 organizations and novel administrative data on over 3,600 tasks they undertake. We first demonstrate that there is a large range of variation across government organizations, both in management quality and in task completion, and show that management quality is positively related to task completion. We then provide evidence that this association varies across dimensions of management practice. In particular, task completion exhibits a positive partial correlation with management practices related to giving staff autonomy and discretion, but a negative partial correlation with practices related to incentives and monitoring. Consistent with theories of task clarity and goal ambiguity, the partial relationship between incentives/monitoring and task completion is less negative when tasks are clearer ex ante and the partial relationship between autonomy/discretion and task completion is more positive when task completion is clearer ex post. Our findings suggest that organizations could benefit from providing their staff with greater autonomy and discretion, especially for types of tasks that are ill-suited to predefined monitoring and incentive regimes.
The authors document the correlation between the workplace diversity in bureaucratic organizations and public service delivery, in the context of Nigeria, where ethnicity is a salient form of self-identity. This article expands the empirical management literature highlighting beneficial effects of workplace diversity, that has focused on private sector firms operating in high-income settings. The analysis combines two data sources: (i) a survey to over 4,000 bureaucrats eliciting their ethnic identities; (ii) independent engineering assessments of completion rates for 4,700 public sector projects. The ethnic diversity of bureaucracies matters positively: a one standard deviation increase in the ethnic diversity of bureaucrats corresponds to 9 percent higher completion rates. In line with the management literature from private sector firms in high-income countries, this evidence highlights a potentially positive side of ethnic diversity in public sector organizations, in the context of Sub-Saharan Africa.
Climate change is the biggest global health threat of the 21st century. Effects of climate change on health will affect most populations in the next decades and put the lives and wellbeing of billions of people at increased risk. During this century, earth’s average surface temperature rises are likely to exceed the safe threshold of 2°C above preindustrial average temperature. Rises will be greater at higher latitudes, with medium-risk scenarios predicting 2–3°C rises by 2090 and 4–5°C rises in northern Canada, Greenland, and Siberia. In this report, we have outlined the major threats—both direct and indirect—to global health from climate change through changing patterns of disease, water and food insecurity, vulnerable shelter and human settlements, extreme climatic events, and population growth and migration. Although vector-borne diseases will expand their reach and death tolls, especially among elderly people, will increase because of heatwaves, the indirect effects of climate change on water, food security, and extreme climatic events are likely to have the biggest effect on global health.