Kenneth J. Meier

Kenneth J. Meier
American University Washington D.C. | AU · Department of Public Administration and Policy

About

343
Publications
153,117
Reads
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15,136
Citations
Additional affiliations
September 2018 - present
Leiden University
Position
  • Professor of Bureaucracy and Democracy
September 2004 - present
Cardiff University
Position
  • Professor of Public Management

Publications

Publications (343)
Article
Full-text available
Studies of representative bureaucracy frequently reference the need for a critical mass before an underrepresented group can influence policy outputs or outcomes, but the empirical literature is modest and presents mixed findings. This article presents a theoretical exploration to illustrate how critical mass can link individual behavior to organiz...
Article
Representation frequently links state politics to policy. Current research, however, overlooks the interplay between bureaucratic and legislative representation and how local representation may be influenced by state policy environments. There is also a need to test current theories of state politics and policy, driven by the study of US federalism...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
As issues of social equity and inclusiveness have become increasingly salient to political discourses, they are also more strongly emphasized as dimensions of effective public service delivery. As a consequence, representative bureaucracy has become more significant to the study of public management. The theory of representative bureaucracy assumes...
Article
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The representative bureaucracy literature focuses on how passive representation translates into substantive benefits for the represented individuals. Although scholars have found substantial empirical support for representation based on gender, most studies have examined the United States, a country with high levels of democracy and gender equality...
Article
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Reporting government performance to the public is key tool in improving accountability. Some evidence, however, has shown that individuals’ anti-public sector biases may distort performance information about public organizations. Using an experimental vignette on U.S. nursing homes, this study fills four gaps in the literature: 1) the need to inclu...
Article
The management literature has highlighted the role of a manager’s gender in adopting and practicing managerial innovation. The conditions that affect female (or male) managers’ decision making on innovations, however, have been less explored. Using a national survey of top-level administrators in US nursing homes and archival nursing home quality d...
Article
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Through bringing the concept of status distance to representative bureaucracy and diversity management literature, this article develops new hypotheses that can guide future studies on representation and diversity in public organizations. First, including status distance brings consideration of the tensions that minority representation creates betw...
Article
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Representative bureaucracy scholarship has yet to address two interrelated phenomena: intersectionality and changes in relative disadvantage over time. This manuscript addresses these gaps by assessing representation effects at the intersection of race/ethnicity and sex and in previously, but no longer, disadvantaged client groups. It also argues t...
Article
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Bureaucracies representative of the public can affect programme outcomes either through active representation by bureaucrats or symbolic representation via changes in client behaviour. Separating out these different aspects of representation requires understanding the interaction of bureaucrats and clients which is difficult using only quantitative...
Article
A bureaucracy that is representative of the public it serves – passive representation – can result in both active representation and symbolic representation. Symbolic representation occurs when passive representation improves perceptions of legitimacy and enhances bureaucratic outcomes because the public is more cooperative and more likely to engag...
Preprint
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Manipulation checks in behavioral public administration are commonly used and reported to determine if the experimental and control group have received different treatments. This paper uses three experiments to argue that manipulation checks for experimental treatments can have secondary benefits that can be used to improve the quality of experimen...
Article
Public managers and employees should be on the same page for successful performance. Managers’ self-evaluations of their own management, however, often do not match employees’ evaluations. Despite the consistent findings of a discrepancy between managers’ and employees’ perceptions of management, little research has examined how this perceptual inc...
Article
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This article proposes that two major trends – the failure of political institutions and the globalization of minority rights – present major challenges for public administration. These changes mean that public administrators must now perform roles that were previously the realm of elected officials in relation to the broader public. Specific concer...
Article
A bureaucracy representative of disadvantaged groups in a society has been linked to better outcomes for those groups in a wide variety of policy areas. Most of the empirical work identifying this link has used United States data, a highly conducive case for representation. Would the same relationship be seen in more challenging organizational and...
Article
There is a huge gap between how employees see leaders’ behavior and how leaders see themselves regardless of sector and functional area. Because this gap can be a serious problem in managing organizations, scholars have investigated how the gap can be reduced. This article focuses on leadership training and tests whether and under what conditions i...
Article
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This study examines gender differences in leadership behaviors and whether leadership training would have different effects on leadership behaviors by gender. Using data from several hundred managers of welfare and financial agencies in Denmark, we first investigate whether leadership behaviors differ between female and male leaders. After that, we...
Article
Full-text available
There is a huge gap between how employees see leaders' behavior and how leaders see themselves regardless of sector and functional area. Because this gap can be a serious problem in managing organizations, scholars have investigated how the gap can be reduced. This article focuses on leadership training and tests whether and under what conditions i...
Article
Full-text available
This study investigates whether the public perceives nonprofit organizations as different from private for-profit and public organizations and whether introducing new performance management systems would provide positive credits to the organization. Using two randomized survey experiments on US hospitals (one with an adult sample and the other with...
Article
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This article investigates whether citizens’ evaluations of service performance are related to archival measures of performance, and how institutional context shapes this relationship contingent on administrative autonomy – standards, human resources, and financial autonomy. Using cross-national education data, this study finds that student performa...
Article
Public administration research has produced a large literature on the determinants, consequences, and complexities of goal clarity and ambiguity. This article contributes to this line of work by examining how perceived goal ambiguity and goal multiplicity condition the effect of top administrators’ management on performance. In the context of U.S....
Article
Full-text available
This study investigates whether the public perceives nonprofit organizations as different from private for-profit and public organizations and whether introducing new performance management systems would provide positive credits to the organization. Using two randomized survey experiments on US hospitals (one with an adult sample and the other with...
Article
Bureaucratic reforms worldwide seek to improve the quality of governance. In this article, we argue that the major governance failures are political, not bureaucratic, and the first step to better governance is to recognize the underlying political causes. Using illustrations from throughout the world, we contend that political institutions fail to...
Article
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This study investigates linear and nonlinear effects of job tenure on organizational performance and explores how administrators' job tenure can moderate the relationship between three key managerial strategies-innovative management, participatory management, and external management-and performance. Using archival performance indicators available f...
Article
Building on the work of Adam Herbert, this research examines how minority managers navigate the pressures of their organization versus the pressures of their community. Organizational socialization suggests that the socialization process will introduce employees to the goals and priorities of the organization and result in similar behaviors among m...
Article
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Fundamental to democratic societies, citizen participation is an important tool for promoting active, informed, and empowered citizenry as well as responsive and accountable administration. Past literature on citizen participation has focused on its determinants, forms, and prevalence. This study examines the relationship between a specific form of...
Article
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This study examines whether the public holds biased perceptions of public organizations (hospitals) in the United States and whether organizations get credit for positive results from program evaluations. Using an experimental design that replicates Hvidman and Andersen’s (2016) Danish study, we find no negative public sector biases in the US, but...
Preprint
Full-text available
The interaction between leaders and employees plays a key role in determining organizational outcomes and performance. Although human resources management literature posits positive effects of leadership behaviors on employee job satisfaction, the causal path between the two is unclear due to potential endogeneity issues inherent in this relationsh...
Article
This essay introduces the articles in the public administration methods symposium that will appear in this and the next two issues of the Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory. Overall the articles present the need for a rigorous methodological pluralism in public administration where the methods used need to match the substantive qu...
Article
The notion of a representative bureaucracy has generated a great deal of research although many issues are yet to be resolved and some have not been addressed. This theoretical essay uses a contingency theory approach to address a set of key questions relevant to representative bureaucracy. It discusses who is represented and what values get repres...
Article
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The increased outsourcing of national security endeavors to private military companies (PMCs) raises questions concerning public evaluations of their performance and the extent to which government officials are held accountable. We use a survey experiment to test public blame attribution associated with a failed military operation that was conducte...
Article
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Measuring public service performance is a central issue for modern governments. Less attention, however, has been paid to the similarities and differences between various performance indicators. In particular, we know less about the views of citizens concerning performance and how they are correlated with administrative performance. Examining the g...
Article
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This study reports on the effectiveness of a year-long field experiment involving training in transformational and transactional leadership in the public and private sectors. Using before and after training assessments by employees of several hundred Danish leaders, the analysis shows that transformational leadership training is associated with inc...
Article
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Objective This study argues that country music can be viewed in terms of identity politics that seeks to define an American identity. Methods A textual analysis of country music songs is used to illustrate the various components of this American identity associated with the U.S. South and West. Results Six key dimensions of the country music Amer...
Article
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Although demographic diversity has been of paramount concern to researchers and practitioners in public management, studies exploring managerial strategies to capitalize on and respond to the needs of diverse client populations are scarce. This article examines strategies for managing diversity as a way to buffer environmental challenges in service...
Article
Many areas of public management research are dominated by a top-focused perspective in which emphasis is placed on the notion that managers themselves are usually the best sources of information about managerial behavior. Outside of the leadership literature, managers are also the typical survey respondents in public management studies. An alternat...
Chapter
The research literature on bureaucracy generally assumes that bureaucrats are risk averse, and some work goes further to characterize bureaucrats as risk avoiding and conservative (LaPiere 1965; Sjoberg, Brymer, and Farris 1966; Wolman 1971; Boyer 1973; Kaufman 1981). At the same time, the prescriptive literature, the most recent being the reinvent...
Article
Public management research has identified a dizzying array of management variables that affect organizational performance. While scholars have learned much by analyzing one or a few specific behavioral dimensions of public management at a time, we argue for the value of a more holistic and inductive approach that uses data on several aspects of pub...
Article
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Attention has been given to the notion that organizational leaders’ expressed confidence and optimism regarding their organizations’ performance can affect that performance by increasing the motivation and/or self-efficacy of subordinates. This idea, a part of various leadership theories, we call “isopraxis leadership.” This paper examines the logi...
Article
Inequality and a historical pattern of discrimination in housing policy have contributed to the level of trust between the U.S. government and the black community. Drawing upon the literature on policy feedback, we propose that policy effects can be race specific and that improved housing policies have a secondary effect of encouraging political pa...
Book
Based on the 1,800 largest school districts in the United States over a decade, The Politics of African-American Education documents the status of African-American education and the major role that partisanship plays. The book brings together the most comprehensive database on minority education to date that centers around three arguments. First, p...
Article
Human resources management and managerial capacity are well-documented in the public management literature as integral management functions. The field has devoted attention to the importance of human resources, but has yet to consider whether human resources management interacts with capacity in attaining organizational outcomes. Using a large-N, m...
Article
Although the influence of government regulation on organizations is undeniable, empirical research in this field is scarce. This article investigates how the understanding of and attitudes toward government regulation among public, nonprofit, and for-profit managers affect organizational performance, using U.S. nursing homes as the empirical settin...
Article
Structural elements of the political process can influence whether the interests of racial and ethnic minorities are accounted for by policy-making organizations. This study focuses on these elements by analyzing how the institutional design of local elections impacts the representation of the Latino demographic. We use an original, nationally repr...
Article
Full-text available
Goal Displacement and the Protection of Human Subjects: The View from Public Administration - Volume 49 Issue 2 - Kenneth J. Meier, M. Apolonia Calderon
Article
Managers concerned with the performance of their organizations will exploit available social, administrative, and human capital resources. However, extant theory and mixed empirical evidence leave the effect of social capital on performance unclear. The gains from these norms of reciprocity, participation, networking, and trust may disproportionate...
Article
This article explores two questions related to whether passive representation leads to active representation using Brazilian municipal data: Does electing women to public office increase the proportion of women in public administration? Does the representation of women in elected office and public administration lead to better representation of wom...
Article
Public management studies are increasingly using survey data on managers' perceptions of performance to measure organizational performance. These perceptual measures are tempting to apply because archival performance data or surveys of target group outcomes and satisfaction are often lacking, costly to provide, and are highly policy specific render...
Article
Full-text available
Notes on the Romulan Reform of Conventions - Volume 48 Issue 2 - Kenneth J. Meier
Article
An extensive literature finds that managerial decisions matter for the performance of public organizations, yet little attention has been devoted to why managers make the decisions that they do. This article builds a theory of public management decision making based on the simple assumption that managers are concerned with performance and the perfo...
Article
While recent research has shown that management matters, we know very little about the role of national contexts in shaping management effects on performance. We address this issue by comparing the impact of management of similar organizations—schools—in very different national contexts, the unitary and corporatist Denmark and the fragmented, adver...
Article
Recent years have seen a substantial growth in the large-N quantitative study of public management and performance. Much of the progress can be attributed to a small number of data sets on local governments in a few countries. The range of data sets suggests the validity of the overall hypothesis of management affecting performance, but the precise...
Article
Herbert Simon, in his 1946 essay “The Proverbs of Administration,” indicted public administration as having conflicting and contradictory theories and an absence of a knowledge base that could provide a guide to practice. Simon proposed that public administration define concepts, adopt efficiency as its objective, focus on the study of decision mak...
Article
Much recent work in the study of public administration has emphasized new challenges and relatively unusual aspects of management. However, it is likely that the core features of traditional public administration play a crucial role, particularly regarding the delivery of performance. The most venerable of these aspects of public management have to...
Article
Factors influencing managerial goals and decision-making processes have been debated for decades among public administration scholars. Previous literature has explained goal setting through theories of performance gaps, bureaucratic control, and isomorphic rationality. However, there exists no direct empirical test of these theories to determine wh...
Article
Full-text available
Do internal (administrative human capital) and external (social capital) resources work to reinforce the effects of each other? Work from multiple disciplines has approached this question, and we advance this literature with a theory of social and administrative resources as potential substitutes for each other in the production of public education...
Article
The 1982 amendments to the Voting Rights Act targeted electoral structures as significant determinants of minority representation. The research regarding electoral structures and representation of constituents, however, has produced conflicting results, and the continued application of some of the provisions set forth in the Voting Rights Act is in...
Article
State government policy frequently focuses on stimulating a healthy business environment with the assumption that this is linked with long term economic growth. The conventional wisdom is that a state’s tax rates are negatively correlated with economic development, prompting states to decrease business-targeted taxes to encourage economic stimulati...