International Review of Administrative Sciences

Sage Publications, Inc.
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Latest documents

  • How does the government interact with citizens within an electronic governance system? Selective government responsiveness

    Democratic governments, owing to limited resources, have no choice but to respond selectively to citizens’ preferences. This study focuses on the characteristic of selective government responsiveness and explores the influencing factors. We argue that institutional and political resources affect selective government responsiveness, and we try to prove this argument through Korea's electronic governance system: the Korean National Petition. Specifically, this article collects and analyzes a unique data set of petitions and government responses in the system between September 2017 and December 2020. The results from multinomial logistic regression showed that government response to petitions differs depending on institutional resources. In addition, in the case of political resources, the influence of the resources on selective responsiveness is different according to incentives to be responsive. Points for practitioners This article reveals that the government shows selective government responsiveness to citizens’ preferences within the electronic governance (e-governance) system according to its resources. This result provides practical lessons for practitioners who are concerned about an e-governance system as a space for communication between the government and citizens. In addition, this article suggests a new direction for scholars by presenting empirical evidence for government responsiveness in governance, which has been primarily conceptually studied because it is difficult to measure directly.

  • Administrative philosophies in the discourse and decisions of the New Zealand public service: is post-New Public Management still a myth?

    New Zealand is frequently cited as the archetypical example of New Public Management (NPM), having gone ‘further and faster’ than other jurisdictions in radically reforming their public service in the late 1980s. These reforms have been credited with significant gains in efficiency and responsiveness, while introducing new challenges. Successive reforms over the past 30 years tinkered with the model without fundamentally altering the underlying paradigm, such that authors refer to the ‘myth of post-NPM in New Zealand’. In 2020, New Zealand repealed and replaced its main public service legislation. By textually analysing government documents, this article explores the different theoretical roots of New Zealand's ongoing administrative reforms and debates the extent of their theoretical coherence. The Act directly dialogues with and draws inspiration from recent academic debates, drawing from a range of sources (such as New Public Governance, Digital Era Governance, and the New Public Service). Points for practitioners New Zealand has long been regarded as the purest example of New Public Management (NPM). Legislation passed in 2020 saw New Zealand adopt a range of reforms described in the literature as ‘post-NPM’, while also reaffirming features associated with Traditional Public Administration (TPA). While New Zealand has moved away from a pure NPM model and adopted features associated with Post-NPM, Post-NPM is not a coherent doctrine and it may only be possible to identify administrative doctrines retrospectively. We may be entering a period of ‘New Public Complexity’, where administrative doctrines are blended and layered.

  • Policy advice utilization in Belgian ministerial cabinets: the contingent importance of internal and external sources of advice

    Ministerial cabinets hold a central place in the Belgian politico-administrative system, carrying out the bulk of policy formulation. However, they do not operate in isolation and rely on other actors of the policy advisory system for information supply and advice. They request, receive and use various advisory inputs. This article investigates how ministerial advisers utilize policy advice when they formulate policies. Based on a unique survey targeting ministerial cabinet members, it shows that policy advice utilization varies according to the source and its location in the policy advisory system. The sample consists of ministerial advisers from 11 ministerial cabinets in the two Belgian federated entities’ governments of Wallonia and the Wallonia-Brussels Federation. Ministerial advisers still predominantly use advice from the civil service, which points to the continued importance of advice provision from internal, in-house sources. However, advice from external actors – such as trade unions, civil society or consulting firms – have been observed to have rather high repercussions on policy formulation activities too. Advisory bodies appear to be very much active in supplying advice, but this same advice does not yield comparatively higher utilization scores. Points for practitioners This study focuses on policy advice utilization by members of ministerial cabinets in Belgium, especially when they formulate policies. It shows that internal, in-house sources remain important advice-providers and their advisory inputs still abundantly feed into the policy work carried out at the level of government. However, this article provides evidence that external sources might also supply advice that directly finds its way to decision-makers working in ministerial cabinets and that have considerable repercussions at that level too. This is the case for advice from trade unions, (organized) civil society or consulting firms, among others. Quite importantly for practitioners, our results suggest that ministerial advisers sometimes prefer controlling advisory exchanges and running separate consultations with one stakeholder at a time, instead of having to deal with collective, internal institutions that represent multiple interests, like advisory bodies. We did not observe striking differences in the degree of utilization between solicited and unsolicited advice, which means that for civil servants or stakeholders, sending policy advice previously unrequested by ministerial cabinets is not necessarily a fruitless strategy to follow.

  • Hidden pressure: the effects of politicians on projects of collaborative innovation

    Collaborative innovation is increasingly put forward as a way of addressing the many wicked problems our society faces today. This article focuses on how politicians indirectly affect projects of collaborative innovation and whether stakeholders experience them as helpful or hindering to the project. The impact of politicians on projects of collaborative innovation are compared across four cases and throughout three project phases (set-up, implementation and sustainment). The results show six ways in which politicians can help projects of collaborative innovation: by providing funding, by making a project a political priority, by connecting stakeholders, by resolving stakeholder conflicts, by unblocking red tape barriers and by extending a collaborative network legitimacy. Furthermore, stakeholders perceived politicians as potentially hindering collaborative innovation projects in three ways: through the adjustment of the project goals, through the loss of a project’s ‘neutral’ status and through blocking or obstructing a project. Points for practitioners One important point to take away for practitioners is that there appears to be a strong focus among stakeholders on the potentially hindering effects of politicians on collaborative innovation projects (CIPs). Yet, across the four cases, the positive impact of political support played a bigger role. While some of these findings can be case specific, it shows that public servants may benefit from being more open-minded about the potentially positive impact of politicians on CIPs.

  • Measuring red tape in a hospital setting: A survey experiment

    Public administration research is actively exploring alternatives for the General Red Tape (GRT) scale to measure red tape. Owing to increasing criticism on the GRT scale, scholars proposed the Three-Item Red Tape (TIRT) scale as an alternative. Using a repeated cross-sectional design, this article tests both scales in a before–after analysis of a major change in the organization of administration in a hospital. The results indicate that the GRT scale does not capture the resulting major change in red tape, which raises questions on the instrument's validity in a bottom-up research design within one organization. The TIRT scale, however, which measures red tape at the work environment level, does reflect the change in red tape but shows empirical weaknesses in its design. Additionally, by randomly assigning respondents to substantially different red tape definitions, this article shows that the red tape definition does not significantly impact respondents’ GRT ratings. Points for practitioners The predominantly used GRT scale is not able to capture an increase in red tape in a bottom-up intraorganizational research design in a hospital, which raises questions on the instrument's validity. A more recent alternative for the GRT scale, more specifically the TIRT scale, captures the increase in red tape but shows empirical weaknesses. The wording of the red tape definition does not impact respondents’ answers on the GRT scale.

  • Impacts of decision-making process on social justice in the infrastructure equity in Ethiopia

    Equity concerns the distribution of resources and is inevitably linked with concepts of fairness and social justice. What are the decision-making processes for fair allocation of infrastructure resources and its effect on social justice in Ethiopia? The article uses structural equation modeling-partial least square software for analysis. Therefore, the article finds that there is infrastructure inequity and social injustice owing to a lack of democratic decision-making and accountability in Ethiopia. Moreover, the Ethiopian government lacks the tools and institutions that provide the foundation for good decision-making processes and democratic accountability. There also exists a low level of social cohesion in Ethiopia today. Hence, the government needs a democratic decision-making process that would bring diverse interests together and solve the lack of intergovernmental relations (IGRs) as well as the lack of democratic accountability to improve citizens’ justice in the infrastructure sector in Ethiopia. As a result, it requires a focus on regional governments’ needs, reacting to their concerns, and keeping them justified on the equitable distribution of infrastructure across regional states in the country. This will also help to save Ethiopia from bloody conflicts. Points for practitioners In practice, the drive for public management is to increase the quality and efficiency of government-provided services. Professions in government agencies, public enterprises, and trusts that deal with policies and strategies that govern the equitable allocation and administration of public resources make up the public management and administration pathway. As a result, the most important takeaway for professionals is that creating a learning organization is a significant management strategy that public organizations must pursue in exercises.

  • Analysis of the perception of digital government and artificial intelligence in the public sector in Jalisco, Mexico

    The advancement and continuous development of information and communication technologies highlights the importance of analysing and monitoring the development and capabilities of governments to use and exploit the potential of new technologies. Digital government and artificial intelligence in the public sector are two trends associated with technological development. This research conducts an analysis of these elements from the perspective of public officials by conducting a factor analysis. The study is based on a survey administered to civil servants in the state of Jalisco in Mexico. An analysis was made of their training and knowledge of these aspects and whether there are significant differences according to gender, age, level of studies, area of knowledge and place of work. The results obtained show divergences and coincidences between variables and factors. The findings are useful as a reference for the government of Jalisco to promote measures aimed at improving the situation of digital government and artificial intelligence in the short to medium term, in order to optimize administrative management. Points for practitioners Knowing the perspective of public officials on digital government and artificial intelligence is important to evaluate and design a digital strategy in governments. Public officials in charge of technology areas in governments need constant training on emerging technological tools, mainly those related to artificial intelligence. There is a lack of knowledge about the use and implications of artificial intelligence in the public sector by public servants. Data interoperability and coordination between government agencies are relevant to the development of digital government.

  • Chronicle of the International Institute of Administrative Sciences
  • Editorial
  • Public trust in the Chinese government and life satisfaction during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic

    It is important to understand the public’s trust in the government’s ability to handle crisis events. Based on China Family Panel Studies data in 2018 and 2020, this paper explores the interaction between government trust and life satisfaction during the pandemic. It is found that with the increase in public trust in government officials, individual life satisfaction has been significantly improved. The main mechanism is that government trust enhances people’s confidence in the future and promotes the government’s investment in the livelihood fields. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, individual life satisfaction suffered a negative impact. Individuals with high trust in the government before the pandemic had a small decrease in life satisfaction. At the same time, when faced with the pandemic, individuals were more willing to trust the government due to the desire to overcome common threats, which will alleviate the negative impact of the pandemic on individual life satisfaction. The research reported in this paper helps to explain the role of government in the crisis period from the perspective of public trust and provides useful information for the government to formulate and adjust policies to mitigate the impact of the crisis events. Points for practitioners In China, trust in local governments is related to public satisfaction. People are more willing to increase trust in the government to overcome a common crisis, thus reducing the negative impact of the crisis on individual life satisfaction. Perhaps more important is to promote the public service motivation of government officials through government trust. Providing public services, increasing accountability and transparency in society, and increasing citizen engagement are all effective ways to foster institutional trust.

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