Burdens Are Everybody’s Business: Examining the Intersection of Administrative Burdens, Motivation, and Entrepreneurial Culture

AuthorDonavon Johnson
Published date01 November 2022
Date01 November 2022
Subject MatterArticles
Administration & Society
2022, Vol. 54(10) 1965 –1992
© The Author(s) 2022
Article reuse guidelines:
DOI: 10.1177/00953997221100373
Burdens Are Everybody’s
Business: Examining
the Intersection of
Administrative Burdens,
Motivation, and
Entrepreneurial Culture
Donavon Johnson1
Administrative burdens have consequences for entrepreneurial outcomes,
and entrepreneurial outcomes have consequences for people’s quality
of life. Public administrators should be concerned since they are the
gatekeepers of democracy. Using data from 40 countries, this paper
investigates the intersection between burdens and entrepreneurship by
examining the relationship between burdens and entrepreneurial activity and
entrepreneurial culture. The extent to which this relationship is conditioned
by entrepreneurial motivation is also explored. The findings indicate that
burdens suppress entrepreneurial culture by reducing entrepreneurial
activity. Further, entrepreneurial motivation can enable entrepreneurs to be
more resilient against burdens.
administrative burden, entrepreneurial activity, entrepreneurial motivation,
entrepreneurial culture, administrative action
1Florida International University, Miami, USA
Corresponding Author:
Donavon Johnson, Department of Public Policy and Administration, Florida International
University, Miami, FL 33199-2156, USA.
Email: djohn252@fiu.edu
1100373AAS0010.1177/00953997221100373Administration & SocietyJohnson
1966 Administration & Society 54(10)
Administrative processes have real consequences for the operational capacity
of public administration specifically. Herd and Moynihan (2018) refer to
some of these processes as administrative burdens; onerous costs that citizens
or institutions are forced to endure if they wish to have successful interac-
tions with state agencies (Burden et al., 2012). Herd and Moynihan’s (2019)
typology of administrative burdens is premised on a three-pillared frame-
work; learning costs, psychological costs, and compliance costs. These costs
have been proven to make citizens’ interaction with their governments tedious
and unwelcoming thereby encumbering their access to state resources to
which they are entitled.
While the extant scholarship has examined administrative burdens faced
by individual citizens (Christensen et al., 2020; Herd & Moynihan, 2019; D.
Johnson & Kroll, 2020), the burdens faced by organizations and businesses
has been understudied. Burdens are sometimes levied with noble intentions
and with an interest to produce democratic outcomes (Hodgson, 2009;
Kitching et al., 2015; Kotnik et al., 2020). For example, the government can
place more burdens on businesses to prevent/reduce corporate abuse or tax
evasion, or even fraudulent abuse of public programs (Moynihan et al., 2015).
Burdens, therefore, can produce positive results within the contexts that are
deployed. Notwithstanding this, regardless of the underlying motivations—
good or bad—burdens produce effects and consequences.
Additionally, placing burdens on businesses can reduce economic pros-
perity by affecting economic growth (Poel et al., 2014), capital productivity
in the economy (Dawson, 2007), and GDP (Haidar, 2012). What remains
unclear is how can businesses and public administrators deal with burdens.
Additionally, while scholars have examined the effect that burdens have on
existing businesses, The spillover effects have not yet been fully explored,
that is, what are the feedback effects when burdens are placed on businesses?
Finally, the burdens scholarship has not fully examined what characteristics
of burden-bearers enable them to tolerate burdens and empower them to be
more resilient against burdens.
Placing burdens on businesses can have deleterious consequences for the
economy. Furthermore, people rely on an optimally functioning economy in
order to improve their quality of life which is a fundamental element of dem-
ocratic societies (Hacker & Pierson, 2016). Burdens placed on business
therefore have consequences for democracy and should be of concern to pub-
lic administration, especially amidst the current view that the link between
democracy and entrepreneurship has received relatively little attention in the
extant literature (Audretsch & Moog, 2022). This study is also relevant to the

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