Volume 51, No. 3 | Research and practice

Christian Bøtcher Jacobsen and Ole Helby Petersen | Collaboration between research and practice in public administration: potentials, barriers and options

Public administration research is in a cross-pressure between relevance for the international research community and for Danish practice. This cross-pressure is particularly evident in hiring of new academic staff and the distribution of grants from public and private research funds. It is generally expected that there will be more focus on so-called double impact, where researchers and universities are measured on publication in prestigious journals as well as generation of knowledge with practical use. This article discusses opportunities, gains and challenges of strengthened collaboration between research and practice in public administration. The article particularly focuses on some of the potential gains from closer collaboration and discusses a number of challenges and barriers to establishing closer collaboration between research and practice.

Lotte Bøgh Andersen and Mads Leth Jakobsen | Will action follow words? Conditions for credibility of leadership intentions

Talk without action is both cheap and ineffective. When leaders communicate a leadership intention to their followers, the credibility is important if the intention is going to affect the behavior of the followers. This article develops a theory about the conditions for credibility of leadership intentions. These conditions are good if the institutional framework, the leader’s characteristics and goals, and the leader’s prior behavior make it plausible that present and future leaders both can and will ensure that the intention is realized. To contribute to future research, the article develops expectations concerning the conditions for credibility and their effects. It also contains several points for practitioners and presents a terminology for developing the credibility of one’s own leadership intentions. 

Louise Ladegaard Bro, Joachim Langagergaard and Christian Bøtcher Jacobsen | Span of control and leadership satisfaction in public and private organizations

Public leaders are managing an increasing number of employees. The literature on span of control holds arguments about positive as well as negative effects of larger spans of control, but we lack empirical studies, which directly compare the consequences of span of control in public and private organizations. Furthermore, we lack panel studies, which investigate the consequences of changes in span of control. This article focuses on leadership satisfaction and investigates the importance of span of control among 11,234 public and private employees and shows that span of control is negatively associated with leadership satisfaction, and that this negative relationship is slightly stronger in public organizations compared with private organizations. Furthermore, a panel study of a subsample provides some support for the argument that changes in leadership satisfaction occur in relation to changes in span of control –especially at lower spans of control. 

Niels Ejersbo, Kurt Houlberg and Lene Holm Pedersen | Self-imposed bureaucracy in municipalities: expedient administration or an unnecessary evil?

Bureaucracy and rules have been subject to criticism for years. The concept ”self-imposed bureaucracy” emphasizes the rules that municipalities themselves have decided and implemented and at the same time plays on the negative images that are typically associated with bureaucracy. The article examines what drives the growth of internal rules in two municipalities and how managers and employees perceive the local rules. The emergence of internal rules is influenced by local conditions such as political attention and the wish to ensure equal treatment of both citizens and employees, but national conditions such as regulation also appear to be important. Contrary to common assumptions about rules in public organizatoins, managers and employees perceive that most rules make a positive contribution to the quality of service.  

Caroline Howard Grøn | When research and policy development interact: experiences from the Leadership Committion’s secretariat

When research and policy development interact, it can take a number of forms. This article provides insights from a very extensive cooperation in which the researcher took up a part-time position within the civil service. The article chronicles the cooperation and inductively presents a number of competing demands in this type of cooperation, as they appeared in the process. Finally, the article discusses what can be learned by practitioners and researchers who consider entering similar extensive cooperation.    

Anne Mette Kjær | The influence of development research: the significance of research consensus and policy polarization

There is a long tradition for close exchange between research and practice in the international development community. However, we know very little about the circumstances under which research really has an impact on development practice. This article examines how the degree of research consensus and policy polarization matters. Drawing on evidence from English and Danish aid, I study two cases in the form of two fields of research; research on political economy analysis and research on aid effectiveness. The case studies show that a broad research consensus and a low degree of polarization promote influence. However, this does not necessarily mean that research will also have an influence on the implementation of a development program.  

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