Strategic Institutional Capacity in Solid Waste Management

Event start date
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Pinni B building auditorium 1096, address: Kanslerinrinne 1.


Doctoral defence of M.Sc. SM Shafiqul Alam

Strategic Institutional Capacity in Solid Waste Management: The cases of Dhaka North and South City Corporations in Bangladesh

The field of science of the dissertation is Administrative Science.

The opponent is Professor Timo Aarrevaara (University of Lapland). Professor emeritus Risto Harisalo acts as the custos.

The language of the dissertation defence is English.

Strategic Institutional Capacity in Solid Waste Management

The study analyses strategic institutional capacity related to solid waste management in Dhaka, Bangladesh. It finds that Dhaka city lacks institutional capacity regarding solid waste management and governance is in a state of crisis. It investigates these institutional and governance failures and proposes measures to overcome them.

Strategic capacity is fundamental for any organization. The success, effectiveness and efficiency of management and governance depends on strategic capacity. The concept refers to the ability to make and institutionalise long-term strategic decisions and trajectories. In the Dhaka case, a lack of proper organizational capacity is notably apparent regarding solid waste management. The study argues that strategic capacity should be increased to deploy available resources, while governance processes and systems should be designed in a more appropriate manner. The scientific objective of the study is to contribute descriptive and interpretative knowledge to the theory and literature of strategic capacity and solid waste-management policy analysis. The practical objective is to understand and analyze strategic institutional capacity building in the Bangladeshi context.

The study does not follow any particular theory. It is nevertheless grounded on relevant concepts and theories that conceptualize the research phenomena and develop the conceptual framework. It uses qualitative research methods utilizing a constructivist approach. For data collection, the study interviewed 32 respondents from multiple levels of the Bangladeshi bureaucracy. These were broken down in into categories: the strategic apex, middle-line and techno-structure. Findings were analysed thematically using an inductive approach.

The study found that strategic institutional capacity and governance in general in the corporations of Dhaka City is weak. This is particularly true in the case solid waste management. A key finding is that City Corporations in Dhaka lack a proper understanding of the role of strategic capacity in improving governance and institutional capacity. The major thematic analysis concludes; (i) The predominant strategic perspective is inappropriate relative to policy goals; (ii) Current practices are not based on local needs, but on central government influence and bureaucratic guidance; (iii) Good governance practices and institutional capacity-building is not sufficiently emphasized; as a result, (iv) Solid waste management is ineffective. The study recommended that an appropriate strategic perspective should be encouraged in DCCs for effective governance and better solid waste services. Democratic governance practices, sectoral specific strategies, governance coordination policy, resource based plan and cooperative working relation with central government may expedite the appropriate strategic perspective in DCCs. In the long-run, a realistic strategic perspective will increase strategic capacity as a whole and improve institutional capacity as well.

While the study specifically focuses on Dhaka city, it nevertheless has important implications for understanding solid-waste management governance practices in the developing world in general.


The dissertation is published in the publication series of Acta Universitatis Tamperensis; 2216, Tampere University Press, Tampere 2016. ISBN  978-952-03-0239-9, ISSN 1455-1616. The dissertation is also published in the e-series Acta Electronica Universitatis Tamperensis; 1716, Tampere University Press 2016. ISBN  978-952-03-0240-5, ISSN 1456-954X.

The dissertation can be ordered at: Juvenes e-bookstore or by e-mail:

Additional information

SM Shafiqul Alam, Tel. 040 936 9708,