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A watchful eye in times of turmoil?

Per Lægreid looks at how repeated structural reform leads to more attention to political signals.

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Together with Jan Wynen, Bjorn Kleizen, Koen Verhost and Vidar Rolland, Per Lægreid have published the article: “Keeping a watchful eye in times of turmoil? How repeated structural reform leads to more attention to political signals” in Public Administration.

An important rationale for the creation of semi‐autonomous agencies is to create some distance between politics and administration. As such, agencies are expected to shield policy implementation from the daily concerns of political life. However, political actors and politically controlled ministries still influence agencies in various intended and unintended ways.

The article focuses on intensive long‐term series of structural reforms and how they may undermine the original design philosophy underpinning agencification. The authors utilize a dataset combining staff surveys and a structural reform database to perform multilevel analyses of employees nested in organizations. They find that the frequency with which agencies have experienced structural reform affects the weight that employees attach to signals from political and ministerial principals. Frequent structural reform may lead to heightened perceptions of the importance of political signals. Hence, frequent structural reforms may increase the risk of political influence on agencies that were designed to operate impartially.

Find the full article HERE