An Analysis of Government Downsizing Experiences in Iran

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Public Administration, Faculty of Management, University of Allameh Tabataba'i, Tehran, Iran.

2 Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Technology Management, Faculty of Management and Industrial Engineering, Malek Ashtar University of Technology, Tehran, Iran.


Objective: Study and analysis of government downsizing during the years after the Islamic Revolution of Iran and implementation of government downsizing programs in practice and their results.
Methods: The research method used is qualitative with a thematic analysis approach. Interviews were used to gather information; Participants in the interview were divided into three separate categories: 1. Senior political officials (ministers and deputy ministers); 2. Highly elected policymakers (members of parliament); 3. Government managers (general manager, etc.) were selected by targeted snowball sampling method and 34 people were interviewed.
Results: The results of the theme analysis of the interviews showed that the implementation of downsizing in Iran has been shown as 6 main modes (themes), included: 1. Creating a hidden bureaucracy in the shadows; 2. Establishment of quasi-governmental organizations; 3. Establishment of government-affiliated companies; 4. Government ownership; 5. Integration of organizations; 6. Mechanization in the provision of government services. The first four cases show a trend contrary to the expected results and ineffective implementation of downsizing in Iran. Only the last two cases have been in line with the goal of downsizing in order to increase the efficiency and agility of the government in Iran.
Conclusion: The experience of downsizing in Iran shows that without creating the necessary grounds, the measures taken did not bring positive results for the country and not only failed to reduce the problems of the country's governance system, but also brought bigger crises to the country due to these deviations. In practice, it has not achieved the goals of downsizing, which is to increase efficiency, agility and reduce government current expenditures, and in line with research findings, in some cases has even intensified these distortions. Therefore, in applying the downsizing strategies of the public sector, different aspects should be considered and the type of strategy or strategies and the extent of their application should be selected in accordance with the human, structural and cultural characteristics of this sector, and effective external conditions.


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