WIPCAD doctoral fellows and associates introduce in brief their research project. The dissertation projects can be located by three focal points:knowledge, coordination, strategy.
The case of German family policy in the 2000s
Anna Maria Lemcke
My research topic is the emergence of a ‘sustainable family policy’ in Germany since 2002, which manifested itself in a number of policies essentially aiming at the integration of mothers into the labour market. These reforms constituted a profound shift from the existing family policy, which had been based on the notion of the single breadwinner family. On a conceptual level, the new paradigm was framed as an ‘evidence-based’ approach to policy making, which also marked a significant change. The rise of ‘sustainable family policy’ challenges long-standing scholarly assumptions about the conservative German welfare state and its presumed inability to reform. Thus, the mere fact that the reforms took place presents a theoretical puzzle warranting further empirical research.
In my PhD dissertation, I would like to examine the role of scholarly expertise and its use by the federal administration in bringing about this paradigmatic change in German family policy. Following the WIPCAD research agenda, my dissertation will explore the organizational dimension of policy change. Thus, the overarching research question can be formulated as follows: Which organizational changes with regard to the production and utilization of scholarly expertise have been associated with the rise of ‘sustainable’ family policy and in how far can these changes explain the dynamics of the reform process?
By answering this question, I hope to be able to contribute both to the explanation of the surprisingly rapid and profound change in the field of family policy and to a better theoretical understanding of the use of knowledge in the policy process. Methodologically, my dissertation will take the form of a qualitative single-case study, carried out on the basis of expert interviews and policy documents.
Solving wicked problems through design thinking and social entrepreneurship
Innovation is at the core of public sector reforms around the globe. Design and design thinking is increasingly becoming recognised as a distinct human-centered approach to dealing with wicked problems as well as a force to drive creativity and innovation within the public sector. This dissertation explores emerging case studies where design and civil servants interface to address wicked policy fields, and asks why are design-led approaches of value to public administration?
Various institutional arrangements ranging from public-private partnerships, government labs and innovation units serve as testing beds to prototype or improve public sector services, to become more responsive to societal needs through participatory engagements between government and civil society. Empirical analysis with focus on ethnographic field research, comparative case studies, and expert interviews to understand the inherent challenges and opportunities in the conception of public sector innovation. How do designers approach these seemingly intractable policy fields as their subject matter; and to what extent do the 'designed outcomes' have an effect on Public Administrations?
Evidence-based policy instruments have increasingly been introduced to the German education sector, triggered by the so-called TIMMA and PISA shock in 1997 and 2000. In 2006, the Federal States committed to participate in the Comprehensive Strategy for Educational Monitoring, including (1) international student assessments, (2) comparative assessments of the achievement of the education standards in the so-called National Assessment Study, (3) comprehensive VERA tests as well as (4) joint reporting of the Länder and the Federal Government. These tools are cost and time consuming and the question arises, if they fulfill their intended purpose.
The rather negative rhetoric concerning the use of such policy knowledge in the literature does not recognize the fact that a lot of change already occurred on a policy, organizational and structural level. Examples are the changed role of the school supervising authorities from controlling to advisory bodies or the new cooperation between administration and research/academia. In Bavaria, for instance, new instruments of external and internal school evaluation have been established. Moreover, individual pilot projects are conducted by the states and revealed problems could partially be solved. Examples include professionalization measures for English teachers in the state of Brandenburg as a reaction to the Ländervergleich 2009 (state comparison 2009) or the decrease of in the number of school repeaters in Rhineland-Palatine since PISA-E 2000. Finally, almost all the States do have quality agencies and monitoring reports by now.
Using an explorative and mainly qualitative approach, my first contribution will be a systematization of the changes in school education policies in the states of Bavaria, Saxony, Brandenburg and (Schleswig-Holstein) between 2003 and 2013. Next, I will investigate if evaluation information had an influence on those new developments. Most research on the use of information refers to use as a dependent variable and examines what factors foster use, for example timeliness or quality of reports. Conceptualizing the use of information as an independent variable, I seek to answer the question which information was included and excluded and how the information got into the policy process. Therefore, I will conduct interviews in state-level ministries of education and their subordinate authorities (agency level).
Understanding the policy role of sustainability indicators
In the debate on how to govern sustainable development, a central question concerns the interaction between knowledge about sustainability and policy developments. The discourse on what constitutes sustainable development conflict on some of the most basic issues, including the proper definitions, instruments and indicators of what should be ‘developed’ or ‘sustained’. Whereas earlier research on the role of (scientific) knowledge in policy adopted a rationalist-positivist view of knowledge as the basis for ‘evidence-based policy making’, recent literature on knowledge creation and transfer processes has instead pointed towards aspects of knowledge-policy ‘co-production’ (Jasanoff 2004). It is highlighted that knowledge utilisation is not just a matter of the quality of the knowledge as such, but a question of which knowledge fits with the institutional context and dominant power structures. Just as knowledge supports and justifies certain policy, policy can produce and stabilise certain knowledge. Moreover, rather than viewing knowledge-policy interaction as a linear and uni-directional model, this conceptualization is based on an assumption of the policy process as being more anarchic and unpredictable, something Cohen, March and Olsen (1972) has famously termed the ‘garbage-can model’.
The present dissertation focuses on the interplay between knowledge and policy in sustainability governance. It takes stock with the practice of ‘Management by Objectives and Results’ (MBOR: Lundqvist 2004) whereby policy actors define sustainable development goals (based on certain knowledge) and are expected to let these definitions guide policy developments as well as evaluate whether sustainability improves or not. As such a knowledge-policy instrument, Sustainability Indicators (SI:s) help both (subjectively) construct ‘social meaning’ about sustainability and (objectively) influence policy and measure its success. The different articles in this cumulative dissertation analyse the development, implementation and policy support (personal and institutional) of Sustainability Indicators as an instrument for MBOR in a variety of settings. More specifically, the articles centre on the question of how sustainability definitions and measurement tools on the one hand (knowledge) and policy instruments and political power structures on the other, are co-produced.
A first article examines the normative foundations of popular international SI:s and country rankings. Combining theoretical (constructivist) analysis with factor analysis, it analyses how the input variable structure of SI:s are related to different sustainability paradigms, producing a different output in terms of which countries (developed versus developing) are most highly ranked. Such a theoretical input-output analysis points towards a potential problem of SI:s becoming a sort of ‘circular argumentation constructs’. The article thus, highlights on a quantitative basis what others have noted qualitatively – that different definitions and interpretations of sustainability influence indicator output to the point of contradiction. The normative aspects of SI:s does thereby not merely concern the question of which indicators to use for what purposes, but also the more fundamental question of how normative and political bias are intrinsically a part of the measurement instrument as such. The study argues that, although no indicator can be expected to tell the sustainability ‘truth-out-there’, a theoretical localization of indicators – and of the input variable structure – may help facilitate interpretation of SI output and the choice of which indicators to use for what (policy or academic) purpose.
A second article examines the co-production of knowledge and policy in German sustainability governance. It focuses on the German sustainability strategy ‘Perspektiven für Deutschland’ (2002), a strategy that stands out both in an international comparison of national sustainability strategies as well as among German government policy strategies because of its relative stability over five consecutive government constellations, its rather high status and increasingly coercive nature. The study analyses what impact the sustainability strategy has had on the policy process between 2002 and 2015, in terms of defining problems and shaping policy processes. Contrasting rationalist and constructivist perspectives on the role of knowledge in policy, two factors, namely the level of (scientific and political) consensus about policy goals and the ‘contextual fit’ of problem definitions, are found to be main factors explaining how different aspects of the strategy is used. Moreover, the study argues that SI:s are part of a continuous process of ‘structuring’ in which indicator, user and context factors together help structure the sustainability challenge in such a way that it becomes more manageable for government policy.
A third article examines how 31 European countries have built supportive institutions of MBOR between 1992 and 2012. In particular during the 1990s and early 2000s much hope was put into the institutionalisation of Environmental Policy Integration (EPI) as a way to overcome sectoral thinking in sustainability policy making and integrate issues of environmental sustainability into all government policy. However, despite high political backing (FN, EU, OECD), implementation of EPI seems to differ widely among countries. The study is a quantitative longitudinal cross-country comparison of how countries’ ‘EPI architectures’ have developed over time. Moreover, it asks which ‘EPI architectures’ seem to be more effective in producing more ‘stringent’ sustainability policy.
Translating institutional change: The EU’s role in promoting human rights for LGBTI persons in Sub-Sahara Africa
The EU has committed itself to promoting and protecting human rights of LGBTI persons worldwide. This is puzzling since even among EU member states there is no clear consensus on what constitutes human rights for LGBTI persons. It has led to the accusation of cultural imperialism, in particular from the heads of states from some African countries. It also highlights inconsistencies between external and internal policy, and between expectations of third countries and its own member states.
This thesis examines the processes at play within a public administration dealing with a highly contested and complex issue spanning different levels. The main question this exploratory and explanatory research asks is, how contested institutional change is translated in a complex environment and across levels. The focus is on empirically analyzing the translation process into a different cultural, legal and political, institutional and organizational context. It will first look closely at how LGBTI issues were included into human rights at EU foreign policy level and then secondly how the organizational units of EU Delegations and member state embassies work within a post-colonial context on the ground in Kenya and Uganda.
This interdisciplinary and mainly qualitative study, situated at organisational field level, is based on a grounded theory-inspired methodology, i.e. data driven, and loosely situated within the framework of Sociological New Institutionalism. Combined with a two-step case study design, this enables the close examination of translation processes from Brussels policy level to the sensemaking of the EU Delegation staff and EU Member States Embassy staff.
Big Data Analytics is considered a major technological innovation for government and public administrations, but there is substantial disagreement about the scope of its impact. In the theoretical perspective of new institutionalism, Big Data in government is a case of proto-institutionalization whose specific social construction or ‘theorization’ is subject to discursive struggles among actor constellations and processes of translation and editing that render it compatible to institutional legacies. Comparing the discursive dynamics of the theorizations of Big Data Analytics in three metropolitan European Smart Cities (Vienna, Amsterdam, and London) with qualitative data analysis and co-occurrence analysis, the patterns of theorization and the influence of actor constellations, contextual factors, and institutional legacies on the local understanding of Big Data in government are explored. The findings also shed light on the suggested emergence of a new digital public sector reform paradigm.
Socio-Genèse of integration policies in France and Germany (1880-2010)
My PhD project consists of historicizing and deconstructing statistical categories on migration and integration in France and Germany, by focusing on the scientific controversies on these topics in both countries. In order to do so, the project is grounded on the principles of historical sociology and uses a comparative design over time and across two countries. My research questions migration as a public problem per se and integration as a “natural” political answer to this problem. Comparing both countries over time, the research explores the role of official statistics in the nation building process in the second part of the 19th century in France and Germany (1880-1930), as well as in the last decades of the 20th century (1990-2010). To what extent do official statistics contribute to the construction of categories of otherness? How are these categories used as instruments for integration policy purposes? And what does such an integration policy, based on numbers, look like? In the first step, I will explore the fields of migration and integration statistics in both countries for the second period by focusing on the collective actors involved in these fields. Second, I focus on two national case studies: 1. The genesis of the category “persons with migration background”, introduced in 2006 into German official statistics as an analytical category; 2. The French controversy over “ethnic statistics” (2008-2010). Third, I will apprehend discourses on the integration of migrant populations in an historical perspective by focusing on the patterns of interpretation of past and present protagonists. The empirical study is based on content analysis of documents (statistical reports) and semi-structured interviews.
In light of the debate on the consequences of contracting out of traditionally public services, this research will focus on contracting out within development aid, as the phenomena has largely escaped scholarly attention. Proponents of New Public Management (NPM) have placed a lot of value on free market and competition and claimed that contracting out should lead to cost-reductions and better quality of services. Available evidence suggests that these are caused by improved management practices spurred by competition.
Management practices within development aid projects constantly show the need for improvement, as empirical research shows poor quality of project designs, massive shortcomings by project monitoring and a low learning potential of aid agencies. The question that this research will strive to answer is whether contracting out in development aid leads to better management practices at the project level. Necessary conditions for successful and effective outsourcing of service delivery has been done in many fields, from medical services to transportation and prison management, but the field of development aid is faced with rather scarce research about outsourcing phenomenon, although contracting out has been present in the practice of bilateral and multilateral aid agencies since the 1980s.
The starting underlying presumptions for the research is that better management practices can lead to better results and increased effectiveness of development aid interventions. The results of the research should contribute to the on-going debate about differences between in-house service delivery and outsourcing.
A unique chance to examine contracting out consequences without mixing them with change of ownership effects (which often coincide when outsourcing) is given through a very unique way of work conducted by the Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). Most of the projects are implemented by the GIZ their own staff, and not contracted out, but the GIZ has a commercial department, GIZ International Services (IS), which acquires funds by applying to competitive tenders published by international organizations, governments and private businesses. This creates a possibility to examine how competitive contracting influences project management processes in the field, which is relevant as it has a direct impact on the success of projects.
The thorn in the side of the international results agenda
Evaluation and similar exercises of knowledge creation about the effects of development aid interventions constitute an accepted common practice in the hope for evidence-based improvements. In the context of resource scarcity in particular, donors expect development aid agencies to both manage and demonstrate results. Since the 1990s, numerous bilateral and multilateral aid agencies have committed themselves to this results agenda and more or less successfully and voluntarily managed their programs in a results-oriented way. Despite these commitments, decision-making directly based on evidence of results has remained the exception rather than the rule. This has created a gap in the development community between the declared intent to follow a results agenda and the actual efforts to effectively strike this path. Critics have pointed at the failure to introduce a “results culture” or an “evaluative culture” as a fundamental condition for successful results-based management. Based on the experience of several bilateral and multilateral organizations of development aid in implementing results-oriented management, the study will address the conceptual confusion surrounding the concept of evaluative culture in the field of international development aid by inferring a sound definition of the term and by uncovering the paths that lead to and emerge from an evaluative culture.
Regulating Refugees’ movement within the EU by German and Italian administrations
At the beginning of the 21st century, Europe is being confronted with a massive refugee migration. Due to default of a coherent and elaborate European politics of refugees and asylum, EU’s member states follow very different national models, Germany and Italy being the two least similar cases. While the former has developed strict legal regulations, the latter has turned to a “laissez-faire” model, including the special control technique of six amnesties in the last few years. In spite of these differences, both versions can be called a politics of externalization as both states’ administrative practises prevent refugees from making claims for resources and citizenship rights. The proposed project shows how and why both models generate unintended consequences that might pose threats to existing social orders. The main argument is that these politics of externalization lead to spatial exclusion that triggers both the emergence of spaces of insecurity for refugees and the wider society and social effects that push refugees into illegality. The first unintended consequence called the illegalization of refugees is a process which hinders migrants from getting access to common judicial, social, political resources and welfare systems. As the access to this main frame of social security is denied, refugees have to turn towards irregular resources like the illegitimate labour market or the occupation of abandoned buildings. The second unintended consequence is the emerging of spaces of insecurity – not in the sense of spaces where violence and crime rate increase, but rather, spaces where social practices and therefore social order dissolve or change.
Nevertheless, state agencies remain the crucial hubs which define, implement and negotiate social order, but the process of negotiation and setting rules of closure seems to be more difficult owing to new actors like NGOs, visible and clandestine refugees, industrial and agricultural companies, right-wing extremists, and last but definitely not least, hidden social actors like organized crime which influence the action of state agencies. Besides, local administrations are challenged by dissolving social practices; in other words, all stakeholders act in an uncertain and insecure manner.
The crucial research question is: How differently do local administrations in Germany and Italy react in order to face the self-induced, unexpected consequences of a politics of externalization?
How can lasting peace be re-established in conflict-ridden countries such as Congo, South Sudan, and Haiti? Peacekeeping has been the United Nation’s principal answer to this question since the end of the Cold War. However, capacities and funding to carry out programs and projects as well as to staff military and police components must be made available to peacekeeping operations by UN member states. In addition, peacekeeping operations partner with a broad array of actors including UN agencies, regional organizations, national donors, and NGOs either for project funding or outsourcing project implementation. Yet, by their very nature, these actors have widely diverging views on how to best use their resources to foster peace. This situation translates into a complex pattern of decision-making processes, in which peacekeeping operations must respond to diverse, often conflicting pressures by different actors. Bringing decision-making processes to a successful conclusion is inherently difficult under this condition.
This PhD project aims at contributing to our understanding of the processes and strategies involved in managing such complex decision-making processes. It builds on unique and rich data material from ten weeks of field research in Haiti that allows for triangulating data from more than twenty interviews, a number of observation events, and primary documents.
Findings suggest that peacekeeping partners are primarily driven by their competition for information, personal networks, and funds. Peacekeeping operations are particularly strong on gathering and controlling information and building and maintaining networks, in particular with local actors. It is shown that they strategically invest these more intangible resources to mediate pressures and to get the buy-in of their partners. Further, there is evidence that peacekeeping operations actively influence the construction of knowledge and narratives as well as that they co-opt their most important partners. Finally, it is found that in the mechanics of decision-making in complex settings social skills oil the process. Most importantly, findings indicate that decisions are prepared in informal structures rather than formal ones as they better allow for building interpersonal trust, sharing information on a confidential basis, and lobbying.
Coordination between public sector organizations is one of the classic topics in public administration research, yet rich empirical research and knowledge of its determinants is scarce.
Empirically, my research focuses on the inter-departmental coordination of adaptation and mitigation of demographic change in East Germany. All Eastern German States (Länder) have set up inter-departmental committees that are expected to deliver joint strategies to tackle demographic change. Each respective committee has a chair organization that is responsible for managing the coordination process. While some Länder decided to put the center of government, i.e. State Chancelleries, in charge of the process, others rely on Line Ministries. Being close to the head of government and due to its political authority, the center of government is often regarded as being especially able to steer cross-cutting policies and overcome departmentalism. I am interested how the chair organization (State Chancellery/Line Ministry) influences the coordination process and output and whether the aforementioned assumption really holds true.
Analytically, I utilize actor-centered institutionalism as a heuristic to guide the empirical research. To analyze the coordination process and output I draw on the ideal typical distinction between negative and positive coordination.
To gather data on the coordination process, I am conducting expert interviews with members of the respective committees. Analysis of the coordination output, the joint strategy papers, is based on document analysis supported by CAQDAS.
My thesis contributes to the debate on coordination in public administration research by identifying determinants of the coordination process and output.
What is the effect of administrative capacity and agency independence on the output of information exchange?
Cross-border exchange of information is nowadays the preferred instrument against the evasion and avoidance of taxes, where the financial crisis opened a window of opportunity for powerful high tax-countries to press tax havens into bi- and multilateral treaties with exchange of information clauses. Signature and ratification of cooperation clauses seem to be victory for the residence countries, with the hope that income can now be taxed at the place where it is generated. But high ex ante expectations are contrasted by insights from treaty compliance research, that the implementation of provisions is often symbolic, especially in such a tough collective action situation. Conflicts with clear winner and loser results are not solved in tax treaty negotiations, but often recur at later stages of the implementation process, which make effective cooperation on the ground difficult.
This PhD project aims to contribute to our understanding of treaty implementation in a highly competitive setting. Moreover, it adds an administrative layer to the tax competition literature by revealing the mediating influence of domestic institutions. After a comprehensive description of process and output of information exchange between partnering countries, I explain the variance in cooperation by domestic administrative features (capacity and independence of revenue bodies). Therefore, I conduct a staggered multi-method design on the basis of information flow data, peer reviews of implementation efforts and expert interviews.
In general the findings confirm the positive effect of the core explanatory variables, with interesting variance between different modes of EoI. While countries with higher administrative capacities share more data with their partners (spontaneous and automatic mode of EoI), the traditional EoI on request shows a reversed relation – meaning that high tax countries ask more low capacity jurisdictions for administrative assistance. In addition to that, the politics-administration relationships matters for the effectiveness of cooperation – observing more intense interaction between revenue bodies with formal independence from political principals, especially in low tax countries.
Apart from my core research focus, the data confirms prior research that the level of information exchange is determined by country interdependence and the domestic tax level. Interviewees emphasized the process dimension of administrative assistance: e.g. the reciprocity of information sharing, trust-building between key actors and self-enhancing mechanisms between various modes of administrative assistance.
This dissertation project examines how public marine management organizations deal with coordination challenges in marine governance. The focus of the research is on the organization of coordination between the areas of fisheries management and marine environmental management in international and national level public organizations engaged in marine governance for the North and the Baltic Seas. Moreover, the project examines whether within the organizational field of marine governance in Europe, forces take effect that lead to organizational isomorphism and a structural homogenization of public marine management organizations. The project draws on classical organization and management theory and sociological institutionalism to explain how public organizations deal with issues of formal organizational structure and coordination.
Networked bureaucracies and the challenges of addressing uncertainty
The past decade has seen a rise of new forms of governance dealing with complex global challenges that merit the label “wicked”. Much credit is given to transgovernmental networks of government officials working in ministries or state agencies for effectively addressing highly contested issues on a global level. Global business regulation is an area where such networks are active and my research explores one such network, the International Competition Network (ICN). The central questions to answer are how the ICN is managed and how management and leadership influences the institutional characteristics and dynamics of this virtual network of antitrust agencies. To guide the analysis, the study draws on network theory as well as insights from organizational studies, sociology and management research. The research aims to contribute to public administration and management studies, increasingly turning to different forms of international organizations, including networks. In addition, the research project will provide insights on successful network management strategies to practitioners.
Fast-paced population ageing and limited amount of public resources are challenging local governments in the provision of elderly assistance through several forms of institutionalized care. The establishment of partnerships with third sector organisations to co-manage social elderly care directly at home represents a viable alternative solution to such a problem. However, within these partnerships a relevant tension may arise between government’s desire and request for accountability and third sector’s willingness to preserve its autonomy. In particular, engaging public and third sector stakeholders together in the provision of care may strengthen their interdependency while at the same time exposing such a conflict even more. This research aims to investigate the existing typologies of public-third sector partnerships for home elderly care as well as the systems for controlling, monitoring and reporting introduced within them, with the goal to identify under what conditions third sector organisations are most responsive and accountable to the public sphere. By adopting a comparative approach, the study aims thus to map co-management practices in those Western European countries where demographic change is posing the hardest pressure on the welfare state in general and elderly care more specifically. In these contexts, the observation of the mechanisms put in place to control and assess service provision, together with their impact on the organisation and activity of the third sector, can help to understand how to better design partnering agreements.
What influences the relationships between local governments and urban poor organizations?
The PhD project, placed against the background of urbanization processes in developing countries and especially the growth that African cities are expected to experience in the upcoming years, is on an overarching level concerned with how local governments in sub-Saharan Africa address the challenges of urban poverty and informal settlements in collaboration with urban poor organizations.
Within the range of policy responses that has emerged over the past thirty years, the PhD project focuses specifically on the relationships between local governments and the organizations of the urban poor. These relationships, though acknowledged to be beneficial in addressing urban poverty, are not easily formed. Historical antagonism and mutual distrust can result in conflictual relations. It is therefore important to understand how successful relationships can be fostered.
Previous research has focused on the strategies employed by community-based and urban poor organizations for a successful engagement with local governments. The perspective of local administrations has been less analysed. The proposed study will therefore ask which contextual, organizational and individual managerial characteristics of local governments influence the co-operation between local governments and urban poor organizations, their stability and performance. Overall situated in the theoretical fields of inter-organizational relations and partnership management, it will draw on the literature concerned with partnerships between governments and non-state actors as well as the literature on co-production.
Coastal ecosystems, such as mangroves, seagrasses or salt marshes, provide numerous ecosystem services and their sustainable management has been widely discussed in the context of policy fields such as biodiversity conservation or climate change adaptation. More recent however is the focus on coastal ecosystems for their climate change mitigation potential. With estimates indicating that coastal ecosystems surpass terrestrials ones both in terms of carbon sequestration rates and degradation-related emissions, the interest in this issue will likely continue to grow.
The dissertation, taking the form of a qualitative case study of international coastal carbon governance, will shed light on the complexity of this emerging climate change mitigation issue. It will focus on analyzing the emergent actor constellation, discourses and policy measures dealing with coastal carbon sinks.
Building productive linkages between the Global and the Local Spheres of Climate Governance
In parallel with the ongoing inter-state negotiations under the aegis of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), a large array of governance initiatives have been launched over the past years that involve actors from both the global and the local spheres of climate governance. Among them, in particular the manifold institutional linkages established between UN Agencies and Local Government Organizations (LGOs) have attracted growing attention among scholars and practitioners as part of a greater debate on how top-down and bottom-up approaches can be effectively combined in a post-2015 global climate regime. Yet while building such „global-local climate partnerships“ is increasingly considered as a promising governance tool to complement, or even reinvent, the mandates and operations of international organizations (IOs) and regimes, we still know only little about which actors are actually engaged, in what kind of cooperation, and why.
In order to provide an accurate and comprehensive picture of current collaborations and explain possible variations in the extent and shape of cooperation, the project assesses, in a first step, the extent to which IOs and LGOs are actually engaged in different forms of cooperation. Based on the findings of this comparative mapping, it then probes the explanatory power of a variety of institutional and organizational theories, among them resource dependence theory, sociological institutionalism, strategic management approaches and cultural-historical explanations. Finally, a more fine-grained resource-exchange model is proposed and tested against empirical evidence from a number of "most similar" cases in order to arrive at more general conclusions about the conditions under which IOs and LGOs are more likely to engage in varying forms of cooperation.
Data is gathered from official documents (e.g. mission statements, partnership agreements, program portfolios) and „grey literature“ published by the participating organizations, which is complemented by expert interviews with IO and LGO representatives responsible for managing their organizations‘ external relations and partnerships. Among the IOs and LGOs investigated in this project are those organizations deemed to be „focal“ in the area of climate change: the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Bank Group, the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, and United Cities and Local Governments.
Raffael’s dissertation looks into the impact of the economic crisis on EU climate policy-making. The recent economic, fiscal and debt crisis has been dominating EU politics since 2008. At the same time, the EU considers itself a forerunner in combating the “wicked problem” of climate change. How does the European Union deal with the tension between long-term sustainability transitions and the short-term relief of economic hardship? The linkages between economic hardship and environmental policy-making are deemed to be manifold and arguably more complex than assumed hitherto. The dissertation argues that our understanding of environmental politics in hard times can be improved by analysing how the crisis affects the decision-making process that ultimately produces policy.
Choosing a preference-based perspective, the dissertation argues that the economic pressure caused by the crisis “increased the stakes” of business actors and their national governments, diminishing flexibility in negotiations. Therefore, those actors expecting relative gains from a regulation and those expecting relative losses will face more difficulties in finding an agreement than before the outbreak of the crisis.
The paradigmatic conflict between sustainability and economic priorities is best observable in emission limit and fuel policy. Emission and fuel regulations are essential means to both environmental and economic ends: they are a pivotal part of the EU 2020 and 2030 climate and energy packages; at the same time, they are important tools to structure the common market and level the playing field for trade. The dissertation compares the decision-making process of policies before and after the outbreak of the crisis in three climate policy subfields: carbon dioxide emission limits for passenger cars, the inclusion of aviation into the Emission Trading Scheme, and the use of biofuels. The cases are scrutinised employing a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods: network analysis, preference attainment measurement and process tracing.
A study on performance information use.
This dissertation is aimed at contributing to a theoretical and practical public management puzzle of how performance information is used in accounting for service delivery. Kenya has implemented performance management through annual performance contracting and performance appraisal since 2004. The guiding research question is: How and under what circumstances is performance information used in accountability for service delivery? It applies theories of the middle range hinging on new institutionalism strands of coupling and decoupling organizational processes and legitimacy seeking actions. Performance information use in accountability is the dependent variable. The explanatory factors of performance information use investigated are maturity of the performance measurement system, the attitudes of the managers towards performance management, and political support and demand. While seeking to provide a national picture of performance management, the study draws from a case study of the ministry of agriculture. It focuses on executive managers of the service departments of the ministry. Applying a case study research design the study focuses on both describing the use (non-use) in accountability and explaining the drivers of such use (non-use) of performance information. Data will be collected through interviews with key actors in the ministry as well as from analysis of internal managerial processes such as budgeting and service design, meeting minutes and notes. Website analysis is conducted to establish how the ministry projects its performance to the external stakeholders. The relevance of this study straddles a number of aspects. First it attempts to make a context-based contribution by studying the performance information use in a country outside the OECD. Secondly, its employs a case study research design which has been seldom applied to give flesh to the extensive quantitative studies. Thirdly, the phenomena is of interest to both academics who desire to develop greater theoretical and empirical understanding and especially practitioners who are faced with the daily task of implementing the reforms and are interested to know what works. Fourthly the study seeks to make a contribution, especially from the context of country in development, on the role of politics in performance oriented reforms. Finally, it links to WIPCAD RTG knowledge and national level strands.
“Public employment [in Afghanistan] is now purchased rather than earned… the main problem is that before reforms family, party and faction connections were privileged… and now the whole system is dominated by money"
"The world knows that we did our best and it worked well! Thanks to Taliban we had no single policy paper when we got the office, but now you have clear instruction and policy about every aspect of Afghan civil Service”
(Former IARCSC Commissioner, 2012)
How and under what conditions were Civil Service Reforms (CSR) in the post-Taliban era of Afghanistan initiated? Why were reforms in few line ministries reportedly implemented successfully whereas the same reforms with the same implementation structure and under the similar leadership style have failed in some others? Who were the main domestic and foreign actors involved in the process? What was their role and interest? And finally, while reforming Afghanistan's civil service, to which extent were the lessons learnt from previous large scale SCR initiatives in other post-conflict societies considered and what could be the main learnings from more than one decade of reforms in Afghanistan? In the light of these, and similar, fundamental questions, this research aims to study the costly, time consuming and wicked process of reforming civil service in the context of Afghanistan, where a variety of factors such as involvement of several domestic and foreign actors with conflicting interests, large scale ongoing corruption within the public sector- due to injection of billions of international aid- and finally lack of capacity, networks of patronage and institutionalized nepotism have created a very complex, and in some cases unique, environment for any kind of reform to succeed.
Concentrating on three main areas being recruitment, pay and grade, and promotion of civil servants, the study will first analyze the processes, actors involved and their approaches during rule formulation and policy making of major reforms, since their start in 2003, and then through an exploratory perspective it will research the implementation of those reforms across two or more ministries as the most successful and most failed implementations to address the controversial views on consequences, outcomes and the sustainability of implemented reforms.
The regulation of immigration as a wicked issue in comparative perspective
The dissertation focuses on changes in the implementation structure of wicked policy fields with an empirical focus on the regulation of immigration during the period from 2005 to 2015. A greater will to steer immigration according to national and labor market needs has been observable among European countries. Subsequently, reform processes have taken place in the form of policy and organizational change in the policy field. The dissertation focusses on organizational change from a neo-institutionalist perspective and asks “By which factors can changes in the implementation structure of immigration regulation be understood?” The project argues that bringing immigration regulation to the front of the political agenda also means an increase in attention to the issue of how to cope with the policy-problem’s characteristics of complexity, uncertainty and ambiguity. Thus, changes in the implementation structure are initiated in an attempt to increase coordination, knowledge and legitimacy. However, policy field and country characteristics further shape the extent, speed and relevance of introduced organizational change. To answer the research question, the project thus follows a comparative approach and has the German policy field of immigration regulation as its starting point as respective changes are particularly visible in this case. All articles of the cumulative dissertation follow a qualitative, small research design and are all informed by document analysis and/or semi-structured interviews.
In her doctoral thesis, Anne-Kathrin Wenzel addresses the perception of performance-related pay and performance ratings in the public sector as well as its impact on employees’ motivation.
The introduction of performance-related pay has become a trend in public administrations in the last decades, although its effect on motivation and performance is highly controversial. According to motivation crowding theory, external rewards like performance pay might decrease instead of increase employees’ motivation. This effect depends on the employees’ perception of the reward: If performance pay is perceived as supportive, motivation will be crowded in, i.e. increased. On the other hand, a controlling perception will lead to a crowding out of motivation.
Assessing the perception of performance ratings and performance-related pay in the public sector is of particular interest not only for the scientific community but also for practitioners. The results will help to understand how performance-related pay can work in the public sector and sheds light on the importance of performance ratings on the perception of performance pay. Practitioners might improve their performance rating schemes for performance pay based on the results of the surveys that will be conducted for the thesis.
The initial results of the perception of performance related pay and its impact on employees’ intrinsic and public service motivation have been presented at different international conferences (e.g. European Group of Public Administration Conference 2013 & 2014, European Academy of Management Conference 2014). In 2014, Anne-Kathrin Wenzel was the winner of the European Academy of Management Best Paper Award in the special interest group on public management for her paper titled “Stick or carrot? An analysis of the perception of performance pay in the public sector”.
Determinants of leadership behavior in public organizations
In his doctoral thesis, Dominik Vogel addresses antecedents of leadership behavior in the public sector. Besides generating descriptive evidence about the nature and focus of leadership behavior in the German public sector, it aims to identify the factors influencing these behaviors.
The thesis is based on statistical analyses of self-collected survey data. The data set consists of 64 leaders of three selected public organizations and 464 followers. By setting up an advanced coding mechanism, followers and leaders can be grouped. A multilevel regression analysis is used to estimate the effects of four different groups of antecedents. These are (1) characteristics of the leaders, (2) expectations and interest of supervisors, (3) characteristics of followers, and (4) organizational characteristics.
Assessing antecedents of leadership behavior in the public sector is of particular interest for the scientific community and also for practitioners. The results will give insights into the driving forces of leadership behavior in the public sector and leads to an understanding of why different leaders focus on different aspects of their leadership role. It also sheds light on the leadership behavior of public sector leaders in Germany. So far, very little is known about this topic.
Practical implications are addressed by identifying possible drivers for specific leadership behaviors. These can be used to improve the work of leaders in the public sector.
The initial results of the thesis have been presented at the 2014 Annual Conference of the European Group for Public Administration (EGPA) in Speyer (Germany) and the 2015 Annual Conference of the International Research Society for Public Management (IRSPM) in Birmingham (UK).
Over the last decades, the steering of quasi-autonomous non-governmental organizations has been debated widely. However, it seems that state-owned enterprises have regained popularity in Europe. In many European countries, services of general supply are provided by government-owned utilities under private law. These hybrids are often referred to under the topic of corporatization. The critical issue here is how political control is resolved while orienting the enterprise more commercially.
Studies on agencies have demonstrated that legal and structural autonomy does not necessarily devolve into factual autonomy as reported by the managers. Drawing on Social Exchange Theory, the project explores managerial perceptions of autonomy in publicly-owned enterprises of major cities. The contribution is twofold: Firstly, the project aims to detect the dimensions of managerial autonomy in public enterprises. Secondly, the project tests social exchange related hypotheses controlling for size, judiciary form, debt ratio and branch.
DFG-Research Training Group "WIPCAD"
University of Potsdam
Department of Economics and Social Sciences
14482 Potsdam, Germany
Office: Campus Griebnitzsee, House 7, Room 211-215