Multiple shades of grey: Opening the black box of public sector executives' hybrid role identities

Leixnering, Stephan and Schikowitz, Andrea and Hammerschmid, Gerhard and Meyer, Renate (2018) Multiple shades of grey: Opening the black box of public sector executives' hybrid role identities. Comparative Social Research, 33. pp. 157-176. ISSN 0195-6310


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Public sector reforms of recent decades in Europe have promoted managerialism and aimed at introducing private sector thinking and practices. However, with regard to public sector executives' self-understanding, managerial role identities have not replaced bureaucratic ones; rather, components from both paradigms have combined. In this article, we introduce a bi-dimensional approach (attitudes and practices) that allows for different combinations and forms of hybridity. Empirically, we explore the role identities of public sector executives across Europe, building on survey data from over 7,000 top public officials in 19 countries (COCOPS survey). We identify country-level profiles, as well as patterns across countries, and find that administrative traditions can account for these profiles and patterns only to a limited extent. Rather, they have to be complemented by factors such as stability of the institutional environment (indicating lower shares of hybrid combinations) or extent of reform pressures (indicating higher shares of hybrid combinations).

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: To see the final version of this paper please visit the publisher's website. Access to the published version requires a subscription.
Keywords: Public sector reforms, role identities, public sector executives, hybridisation, bureaucracy, managerialism, administrative traditions
Divisions: Forschungsinstitute > Urban Management and Governance > Meyer
Version of the Document: Accepted for Publication
Variance from Published Version: Typographical
Depositing User: Stephan Leixnering
Date Deposited: 14 Dec 2018 10:13
Last Modified: 17 Dec 2018 17:23
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