Instilling Order and Accountability: Standard Operating Procedures at Indonesia's Ministry of Finance, 2006-2007

In 2006, Indonesian economist Sri Mulyani Indrawati took on a huge and knotty problem: bringing order and efficiency to the Indonesian Ministry of Finance, an organization of 64,000 employees. At the time, many Indonesian citizens viewed the ministry as corrupt and unaccountable, exemplifying the failures of the entire government. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono had appointed Mulyani because of her reputation as a tough-minded reformer and a savvy manager. Mulyani ascribed the ministry’s weak and inconsistent handling of taxes, customs and other services to a shortage of clear and consistent procedures for the many tasks employees handled. A key element of her strategy was to simplify and standardize ministry processes in order to improve employee performance and accountability. During the next two years, Mulyani and her team initially focused their efforts on 35 priority services that citizens used heavily, and then they expanded the reforms to include other activities. By 2007, the ministry had developed and implemented nearly 7,000 standard operating procedures. The changes significantly improved public services and earned popular acclaim for both the ministry and the Yudhoyono government. This case shows how a strong leader and her reform team introduced new ways of working to achieve significant gains in service efficiency, quality and fairness.

This teaching case is available for purchase here.

Authored by Rushda Majeed.

Published by Innovations for Successful Societies.

Economy, IndonesiaNYSEAN