Tuesday seminar with Jørgen Grønnegård Christensen
The interaction between political executives and civil servants rests on a delicate balance between political responsiveness and the duty of both civil servants and ministers to pay respect to legal and other normative constraints on executive authority. In Danish central government, this balance is stressed by norms defining correct civil service behavior when providing ministers with political advice and assistance. Based on a unique set of vignette data, we show how organizational factors strongly influence civil servants’ behavior when they have to balance responsiveness against constraints on their role as political advisers. Moreover, civil servants working closely with ministers pay more attention to legal constraints than their peers among agency officials and specialists. However, agency officials and specialists are much more prone to give priority to professional standards.