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Public leadership, organizational performance, and trust in government (PART)

This project studies the impact of administrative leadership on organizational performance and citizen trust in government. More specifically, PART studies whether and how recruiting administrative leaders from outside the public sector, either from politics or from business, makes a difference for organizational performance, employee motivation, and citizens' trust in bureaucracy. 

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Administrative leaders are often seen as the 'face' of their organisation in the public eye, but who are they? Photo by Guille Álvarez on Unsplash

About the project

The administrative leaders of public organizations play an important role in the governing of democratic societies. They ensure that political decisions are implemented in an effective and unbiased way. They are the ‘face’ of their organization in public. Through their decision-making, leaders affect organizational performance, and ultimately, the performance of democracy.

PART studies whether organizations having administrative leaders with a background in business or in politics perform differently compared to leaders with a public sector background. Moreover, the recruitment of administrative leaders with business or political backgrounds is susceptible to generate distrust among citizens, who may question the fairness of recruitment procedures or administrative leaders’ competence for overseeing public organizations. 

In order to study the prevalence of mixed careers among administrative leaders and their impact on performance, PART will gather systematic knowledge about the professional background of administrative leaders in arm’s length agencies and state-owned enterprises in Norway and 10 countries in different parts of Europe over a 30 year period. PART will analyse the effects of leadership background by comparing organizational performance under different types of leaders.

The motivation of employees and how they set priorities are important drivers of organizational performance. To understand how leadership background affects employees’ motivation and priority-setting, PART will use existing survey data and conduct an original survey among public officials in Norway.

In order to study how citizens perceive mixed careers, PART will analyse the effect of recruitment procedures and leaders’ qualifications on citizens’ trust in bureaucracy through survey experiments. This is a unique and novel approach through which PART will generate high-quality knowledge to improve public sector performance and enhance citizens’ trust in government institutions.

Please click here for a public version of the project proposal. 


The project is financed by The Research Council of Norway - FRIPRO Young Research Talents program (2020-2024). 


Published Mar. 31, 2020 12:34 PM - Last modified Apr. 20, 2022 11:34 AM