Kristoffer Kolltveit, Rune Karlsen & Jostein Askim
Employees in public agencies constantly need to think about how the outside world looks at them. According to bureaucratic reputation theory, public agencies face a complex web of reputational concerns regarding how they are perceived by multiple audiences who prioritise different dimensions of their work. For instance, public agencies are judged by critical media reports, a range of demanding users of public services, politicians and so on. A strong reputation is important, so building maintaining and protecting their reputation is important for generating public support, as well as facilitating their own autonomy and discretion from political interference. However, the existing bureaucratic reputation literature has overlooked the fact that employees might possess multiple social identities that could also affect their motivations, as well as the possibility that the employees might seek to protect the reputations of other government bodies which they hold feel committed to. In our recent Policy and Politics article, we draw on social identity theory to argue that employees are not only concerned about the reputation of the agency for which they work, but also about other actors in the political–administrative system; for example, the ministry to which they belong or the cabinet they serve. We argue that these distinct reputational concerns can have both individual and organisational explanations. For instance, employees in senior positions will emphasise their organisation more than employees in lower positions, because it is their organisational attributions that they identify most closely with. In a similar vein, employees with work experience from their parent ministry will emphasise the ministry more than employees without such experience, because of early socialization processes. Continue reading Understanding reputational concerns within government agencies
Lisa Schmidthuber, Dennis Hilgers and Maximilian Rapp
Public sector institutions increasingly make use of modern information and communication technology to exchange knowledge with stakeholders and involve external actors in decision-making. Public participation has the potential to increase the knowledge base relevant for innovation and continuous improvement in policy-making. It can also enhance the relationship among actors, increase public trust and improve citizen satisfaction. Our recent article in Policy & Politics focuses on public participation in party politics. Specifically, our research focused on a political party which involved citizens in the development of its programme using an online platform. Continue reading Political Innovation, Digitalisation and Public Participation in Party Politics
How can small-territory, subnational governments make the most of their position? Subnational governments like the devolved governments in the UK combine some of the opportunities and limitations of the national and the local governments between which they sit. They have some ‘national government’-type responsibilities and resources, like legislative authority and funding powers, although those resources are limited by their subordinate status. On the other hand, because their territories are comparatively small (Scotland has just under 5.5 million people and 32 local authorities, Wales just over 3 million and 22) they might able to cultivate ‘local government’-type relationships with a comprehensive range of local groups. Continue reading How might lower-ranking officials have a greater impact on policy development than previously assumed?
The UK government is currently undertaking a highly ambitious £1 billion court reform programme. The aspiration is for the physical courts of yesteryear — seemingly sluggish, anachronistic, expensive, and paper-bound — to be replaced by a new, virtual court estate. As the 2016 announcement of the court reform programme made clear, the ambition is for all cases to begin online, for some to be carried out entirely online, and for physical court hearings to make more extensive use of video conferencing. Continue reading What happens to the public in the era of digital government?
What do policy makers do? The question is important, because making policy engages a great number of people one way or another, and what they do they might do well or badly. Our standard answers are rather hazy, not least because policy making entails such great numbers of people doing a great number of things. The literature tends to have addressed the question in functional terms, outlining and defining – and endlessly debating – different sets of activities such as advocacy and agenda-setting, formulating and decision making, implementing and evaluating.
Continue reading What do policy makers really do?: ‘I read, write and have meetings’
Journal Manager of Policy & Politics
Policy & Politics Autumn Highlights collection free to access from 1 August – 31 October 2019.
This quarter’s highlights collection focuses on some of our recent articles looking at public participation in the political process through a range of different lenses. Our first article, the Use and Abuse of Participatory Governance by Populist Governments challenge the notion prevalent in academic literature that participatory governance is a panacea for all ills in Western democracies. Based on a case study of Viktor Orban’s national consultations in Hungary, the authors use their case as evidence of how not to run a public consultation and why asking the public is not always such a great idea.
Continue reading Autumn Highlights Collection from Policy & Politics
New research articles for course reading lists in Public Policy, Politics and Social Policy from Policy & Politics. By Oscar Berglund, Lecturer in International Public and Social Policy, School for Policy Studies, University of Bristol.
All articles mentioned in this blog post are free to access until 20th September or Open Access.
Continue reading Updating your course reading lists? Check out our essential reading recommendations