Administration & Society

Published by SAGE

Online ISSN: 1552-3039


Print ISSN: 0095-3997


The Unintended Consequences of Policy Change: The Effect of a Restrictive Abortion Policy
  • Article

September 1983


38 Reads

This article utilizes a multiple time series design to investigate the impact that restrictive abortion laws have had on maternal deaths in Romania. That society had an initially "liberal" law but it was reversed by a 1966 decree that greatly limited the circumstances under which a woman may have an abortion. The research design combined with data collected from the World Health Organization suggest that it is unlikely that a post-1966 increase in the number of abortion deaths in Romania can be attributed either to the effects of history or instrumentation. Implications of this study for the American experience with abortion are discussed briefly. It would seem that in any society a restrictive abortion policy's impact on maternal death is likely to depend on the degree of "tightening."

On the Nature and Strategies of Organized Interests in Health Care Policy Making

January 2011


55 Reads

Relying on a sweeping review of the literature on interest group influence in health care policy making, we propose a basic definition and a typology of interest groups in provincial health care policy making. Then, using Milbrath's communication framework, we analyze organized interests' strategies for influencing policy making. This article is a modest attempt to cross-fertilize the group theory and resource dependency literature. This theoretical framework allows us to explore many of the recurring questions about groups' origins and strategies from an original standpoint.

The Distribution of Decision Making: The Case of a Flexible Public Transport System
  • Article
  • Full-text available

April 2011


59 Reads

Nowadays, the cockpit model for public policy planning has been largely replaced by a model of distributed decision making. Taking a dramaturgical perspective on politics, this article follows issues when they are displaced between different settings for decision making. A typology of five different displacements is proposed and linked to staging effects of settings. This typology could form the basis of a theory with which complex, interactive, and distributed decision-making processes can be understood in more general terms. The approach is applied to a case of decision making about an innovative flexible public transport system in the Netherlands.

Patients, Police, and Care Providers

February 2012


51 Reads

The story of medical marijuana implementation in the states provides researchers an opportunity for a unique cross-sectional study of several core conceptual issues: federalism, goal disharmony, market influences on implementation and political culture and values. This paper tests the causal relationship between the utilization of medical marijuana at the county level, estimated supply, and the political culture of each jurisdiction. This OLS regression model supports the conclusion that political culture is a significant part of the implementation story and that existing theory does not adequately account for the role of black markets and overt subversion by state and local governments.

Public Administration In A Time Of Grace Citizenship and the Future After September 11th

March 2003


19 Reads

Tragedy has two faces. It is a source of horror, shame, and grief. It is also the opportunity to reflect on the possibility of a different future and a different path for human social evolution. The tragedy of September 11th also provides the circumstances for considering how we might proceed once we have grieved and acknowledged our losses. It is respectful of the human condition to consider what we might learn from this horror and what new guiding principles we might set in motion because of it. A second even more compelling tragedy looms if we learn only how to better defend ourselves and not also how to create a more peaceful and democratic world from the ashes of our sorrow.

Getting out the Cut: Politics and National Forest Timber Harvests,1960-1995

May 2002


89 Reads

To what extent do national forest policy decisions reflect a balance between the interests of environmentalists and the timber industries? National forest policy making from 1960 through 1995 was analyzed using the advocacy coalition framework developed by Sabatier and Jenkins-Smith. The authors found that forest policy shifted in a more ecologically sensitive direction beginning in the late 1980s. Changes were largely attributable to the ability of the environmental coalition to manipulate new information to influence key decision makers within Congress and to take advantage of more favorable decisional venues to overcome structural biases built into existing forest policy-making arrangements.

State Budgets, Governors, and Their Influence on “Big-Picture Issues” A Case Study of Delaware Governor Pete du Pont 1977-1985

March 2013


57 Reads

Studies of state budgeting focus on gubernatorial power primarily by examining executive influence over appropriations to individual agencies or programs. They also view executive versus legislative budgeting as a short-term zero-sum game. An alternative approach is to look at budgeting from a long-term perspective centered on “big-picture” elements of a state’s financial position. This case study takes this perspective by looking at Delaware Governor Pete du Pont’s tenure (1977-1985) when he engineered a remarkable, long-term financial turnaround in the face of economic stagnation, undisciplined spending, historically weak financial management, and divided government. His leadership resulted in balanced budgets, repeated tax cuts, upgraded bond ratings, and reduced unemployment. The case illustrates how governors can impact “big-picture” issues with influence extending well beyond their tenure in office. An examination of du Pont’s leadership style suggests strong similarities to leaders studied by Jim Collins who have transformed other organizations. Looking at the effectiveness of du Pont’s leadership style suggests that clear priorities, bipartisan solutions, and altering the institutional framework for tax and spending decisions can contribute positively to influence over “big-picture” issues of state finance.

Public Choice Theory and Public Choices: Bureaucrats and State Reorganization in Australia, Denmark, New Zealand, and Sweden in the 1980s

May 1994


58 Reads

Reorganizers of the state in Australia, New Zealand, Denmark, and Sweden during the 1980s tried to separate policy-making from the production of welfare and other services by introducing market disciplines and competition. Fiscal bureaucrats, afraid of rising fiscal deficits and public debt, sought to control what they saw as rent-seeking behavior and agent abuse of principals in the public sector They argued these changes would reduce incentives for collective rent-seeking behavior and prevent shirking. Fiscal bureaucrats thus sought to control future behavior in the public sector by changing the incentive structures workers and agency managers faced.

“Great Books” of Public Administration, 1990-2010 Revisiting Sherwood’s Survey in the Wake of Reinventing Government

July 2012


65 Reads

Twenty years ago, Frank Sherwood attempted to identify the most influential book in public administration from 1940 to 1990. This article makes a modest attempt to recreate that study for the span of 1990 to 2010 with a striking difference in its results. Whereas Sherwood’s panel picked a book that was well liked and respected in the academic community, the current study produced a winning volume that was almost universally derided by the panel of public administration scholars. The study also revealed interesting side stories about the methodology for identifying influence, the state of academic publishing, and the future of books for the field public administration.

Women, the Military, and Academe Navigating the Family Track in an Up or Out System

July 2009


22 Reads

Academia, the military, and the family are greedy institutions that make total claims on women while vying for their unwavering commitment. This comparative analysis examines the sacrifices that women in the military and academe make in the quest toward promotion and tenure, offers solutions that might prove to be mutually beneficial to all involved, and points to the potential implications for public management and future research.

Quality and Access Bureaucratic Autonomy and the Role of Storylines at the National Endowment for the Arts

April 2013


32 Reads

This study uses discourse analysis to examine the role of storylines in an agency’s exercise of bureaucratic autonomy wherein agencies are able to pursue their policy goals independent, and sometimes in defiance, of political superiors. Most theories of bureaucratic autonomy typically fall into two categories: those based on task-specificity and those based on the agency’s ability to build a reputation for effectiveness. The author contends that examining the storylines surrounding an agency’s creation and purpose provides for a richer application and integration of existing theories. This study focuses on the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) as an exploratory case study and chronicles the storylines associated with its increasing autonomy from 1965 to 1980 and the subsequent challenges to that autonomy in the culture wars of the 1990s. It suggests that storylines associated with the role of the arts in defining and maintaining American identity in a Cold War context were powerful tools for building autonomy at the NEA.

Predictors of Workplace Accommodations for Employees With Mobility-Related Disabilities

September 2007


152 Reads

Our understanding of reasonable accommodations in the workplace is incomplete. Frequently, research on disability either neglects issues of accommodation or examines the receipt of any accommodation, without specifying type. However, people with disabilities need specific accommodations, not any accommodation. This article uses comprehensive models to test the predictors of four types of accommodations received by employees with mobility-related disabilities. Overall, the results show that different factors predicted receipt of different types of accommodations. Furthermore, factors that facilitate or constrain an employer's capacity to make particular accommodations were more powerful predictors than an individual's need for accommodation or socioeconomic status.

Communication as a Transparency and Accountability Strategy in Supreme Audit Institutions

July 2013


1,870 Reads

The aim of this article has been to develop a communication strategy that will allow Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) to enhance their transparency and accountability to target groups. The study emphasizes the fact that these organizations should base their strategy on three fundamental props—target audience, message, and channels of communication. Defining the target audience and the message and revealing the most common ways of getting the message across have been the backbone of the theory put forward in this article. The analysis highlights the need for SAIs to aim their communication strategy at an increasingly wider audience which will, in turn, receive different messages via both traditional and new media.

Accountability in a Privatized Welfare State The Case of the German Hospital Market

April 2013


73 Reads

One of the most striking features of recent public sector reform in Europe is privatization. This development raises questions of accountability: By whom and for what are managers of private for-profit organizations delivering public goods held accountable? Analyzing accountability mechanisms through the lens of an institutional organizational approach and on the empirical basis of hospital privatization in Germany, the article contributes to the empirical and theoretical understanding of public accountability of private actors. The analysis suggests that accountability is not declining but rather multiplying. The shifts in the locus and content of accountability cause organizational stress for private hospitals.

Examining media effectiveness across cultures and national borders

October 2011


181 Reads



Fatma Pakdil




Advances in communication technologies have made great progress in bridging time and distance, but social and cultural differences are still formidable obstacles to effective communication. Communication processes occur in specific cultural contexts, with unique normative beliefs, assumptions, and shared symbols. Culture influences what people communicate, to whom they communicate, and how they communicate. There has been little systematic cross-cultural research to explicate the effects of communication media on communication effectiveness. This article proposes cultural effects on perceptions of media effectiveness. The authors advance conceptual knowledge by presenting new perspectives on the cultural effects on individuals’ perception of media and their effectiveness.

Conditions of Autonomous Action and Performance A Study of the Fonds d'Action Sociale

February 1993


4 Reads

A common presupposition in the resource dependence literature is that autonomy is a goal to be achieved by the organization. This longitudinal study of the Fonds d'Action Sociale's changing ability to act autonomously in its resource environment extends and modifies this concept, suggesting that autonomy and dependency describe several different conditions in which the organization functions. This study demonstrates that organizational performance varies with condition. More autonomous conditions permit better performance: increased innovation, the internal generation of goals, and improved morale. These results force us to question certain assumptions about the inherent limitations on public organization performance and reconsider the potential of, and conditions necessary for, autonomous public organization.

Fields, Organizations, and Agency Toward a Multilevel Theory of Institutionalization in Action

October 2007


74 Reads

Melding key concepts from structuration theory with the organizational field framework, this article builds on current work establishing a micro foundation for neoinstitutional organizations theory. First, the author presents a synthesized theoretic approach to explore the institutionalization process. Then, applying the framework to data from a case study of a welfare-to-work program, the article examines the institutionalization process from the standpoint of one group of organizational actors (social service workers). The analysis shows that institutionalization can be a highly contentious process enacted by knowledgeable actors who engage, reject, and at times transform the value-laden structures in which they are working.

Interacting State and Non-State Actors in Hybrid Settings of Public Service Delivery

March 2015


192 Reads

Public services are increasingly delivered through hybrid settings of state and non-state actors. A key characteristic of such settings is the interaction between these actors. Different interactions may have different impacts on the outcomes of the particular settings. Yet to date, this key characteristic has received limited attention in scholarship. This article addresses this knowledge gap by presenting an exploratory comparative case study of two very similar hybrid settings that differ in the type of interaction between state and non-state actors.

Table 1 . Organizations Included in the Study
Adapted Institutional Logics of Contemporary Nonprofit Organizations

November 2012


584 Reads

This study applies the concept of institutional logic to interpret the content of the instrumental and expressive dimensions of nonprofit organizations (NPOs). The study concludes that the three-sector assumption of public, private, and nonprofit in existing nonprofit studies may have neglected some institutional logics of NPOs. The sets of institutional logics that are innate to NPOs must often adapt to “external” institutional logics due to resource dependency. The study discusses a relatively complete spectrum of the multiple institutional logics enacted by NPOs, and it conceptualizes the “adapted institutional logics” phenomenon, whereby NPOs are forced to change due to competing logics.

Governing With One Hand on the Plow Adding the Voice of Federal Farmer to the Constitutional School of American Public Administration

October 2012


16 Reads

The constitutional school of American public administration contends that the founding fathers’ intentions for government legitimize our modern administrative state. The Constitution and the rhetoric surrounding its ratification are of primary importance to this school. Federal Farmer was one of the most intelligent critics of the Constitution during the ratification debate. His writings represent recurring themes in the governance of the United States that are pertinent to modern-day administrators. These writings present the modern reader with three lessons: Character matters for civil servants, civil servants should understand their constitutional and ethical roles, and bureaucrats must be engaged in the political process and understand the various groups attempting to influence them to be effective.

Instilling Stewardship to Address the Integrity/Efficiency Dilemma

October 2012


84 Reads

One of the most perplexing problems facing modern governments is how to balance the pursuit of integrity with that of efficiency. The pursuit of integrity has resulted in a massive body of rules and oversight structures that can paralyze management and harm efficiency. Most administrative prescriptions do not deal with the root of this problem—the insistence that integrity be assured by managerial strategies rather than administrative moral agencies. This article argues that by instilling a culture of stewardship, so that integrity flows from people, public agencies could ease heavy-handed corruption controls and pursue efficiency relatively unhindered. A case study of the Edmonton Public Schools is offered to illustrate how stewardship could harmonize the pursuit of integrity and efficiency.

The Rhetoric of Public Administration

May 2002


22 Reads

The short essay that follows is the result of an invitation from the editor to comment on public administration or service in light of the events of September 11,2001 and those subsequent thereto. More responses will follow in future issues. If others are moved to write such an essay, please contact the editor.

Challenging Disaster Administration Toward Community-Based Disaster Resilience

August 2013


128 Reads

Recent studies on disaster resilience policies focus on government and administrative shortcomings that prevent affected communities from improving their life circumstances. This article offers to break this cycle of disadvantage through greater utilization of community capacity building among disaster-affected groups that meet social justice principles in various regional settings. It is suggested that the central role of public administration is raised in developing empathetic relationships and facilitating collaborative action and a more resilient outcome. For this purpose, the author addresses an alternative model of disaster administration that follows a community-driven resilience process aimed at fostering well-informed, competent, and active participant communities.

Of Centennials and Bicentennials Reflections on the Foundations of American Public Administration

November 1987


10 Reads

The year 1987 will be the bicentennial of the American Constitution and the centennial of both the publication of Woodrow Wilson's article "The Study of Administration" and the creation of the Interstate Commerce Commission. These latter two events can justly be considered important events in the development of modern American public administration. This essay will argue that the Progressive era, marked by the reform of the public service, the restoration of an energetic executive, and the creation of independent regulatory commissions on the national level, resulted in a fundamentally different understanding of the nature of a political community than that characteristic of the Founding era. By comparing Progressive views to the views of the founders on the same or similar issues, one can illuminate the changing understanding of the relationship between the individuals, interests, and communities that make up the United States and the common good or public interest.

Idle Talk and Modern Administration

November 1984


13 Reads

This article attempts first to define idle administrative talk in terms of Speech-Act philosophy, then proceeds to illustrate the value of such an approach as a framework for the empirical study of idle talk in modern administration. Finally, the article concludes with two suggestions about why idle talk is so prominent in modern public and private sector administration. On the one hand, it may be a buffer device matched to the everyday ideological struggles occurring in complex organizations. On the other, its prominence may be due to the `fictional "nature of administrative work itself

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