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Department of Administration and Organization Theory

PH.D.-Profile: Hanna Amalie Holding Jones

In my PhD project I explore how Norwegian public administrators experience the inherent conflicts in their role, and how these conflicts affect policy making.

Hanna Jones
Photo:
Chris Hagen Magnussen, UiB

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In short, there are several considerations that public administrators should take into account when they prepare and implement public policy.

Majority rule is an important principle for the work of public administrators. They are tasked with implementing the policies of the current government, and thus have to be politically responsive. At the same time, there are other principles that should influence their work as well. Importantly, they should have some degree of professional autonomy, meaning that they can put forward their expert opinion based on knowledge they possess, for instance through their academic background. Further, some policies will affect certain groups of society more than others. In such cases, public administrators should make sure that stakeholder interests are heard. Lastly, public administrators also play an important role in securing that policies are in line with relevant rules and regulations, namely, securing the rule of law.

In short, there are several considerations that public administrators should take into account when they prepare and implement public policy. In many cases these considerations may be compatible, but in other cases they will conflict. What happens, for instance, if a policy that politicians want to implement is not in line with what expert knowledge indicates is the best way of achieving the desired goal? In which cases do public administrators communicate such discrepancies, and how do politicians respond to such information?

The thesis will employ data from the Panel of Public Administrators, an internet-based study of public administrators in Norway. This panel provides a unique opportunity for data collection, and the project will, amongst other things, employ a survey experiment and gather open text data through the panel.