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An Organizational Approach to Public GovernanceUnderstanding and Design$
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Morten Egeberg and Jarle Trondal

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198825074

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198825074.001.0001

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Political Steering and Bureaucratic Autonomy

Political Steering and Bureaucratic Autonomy

How Does Agencification Affect Public Governance?

(p.85) 6 Political Steering and Bureaucratic Autonomy
An Organizational Approach to Public Governance

Morten Egeberg

Jarle Trondal

Oxford University Press

This chapter draws attention to the effects of vertical specialization of organizations and how it affects public governance. The chapter documents that agency officials pay significantly less attention to signals from executive politicians than their counterparts within ministerial (cabinet-level) departments. This finding also holds when controlling for variation in tasks, the political salience of issue areas, and officials’ rank. In addition, it is documented that the greater the organizational capacity available within the respective ministerial departments, the more agency personnel tend to assign weight to signals from the political leadership. Expert concerns are strongly emphasized at both levels; however, agency personnel are more sensitive to the influence of affected parties. The chapter applies large-N questionnaire data at four points in time (1986, 1996, 2006, and 2016) that spans three decades and shifting administrative doctrines: New Public Management as well as post-New Public Management.

Keywords:   administrative doctrines, agencification, bureaucratic autonomy, organizational capacity, political control, vertical specialization

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