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What logics drive the choices of public decision-makers?
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Social Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3038-8419
2018 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis explores what logics drive the decisions of public decision-makers. More specifically, and drawing on new institutional theory, this topic is investigated from the perspective of how institutions, i.e. the formal and informal patterns of rules and practices, influence public decision-makers. New institutionalism has a variety of ideas on how this decision-making occurs and recent research in this tradition emphasizes the importance that context has for the empirical support of these ideas. At the same time, studies exploring, contrasting and converging new institutional ideas, and how these vary depending on context i.e. their conditionality, are lacking. In this thesis, I set out to address this knowledge gap and, moreover, to examine the role of personal values for the new institutional ideas on how institutions affect the public decision-makers. Personal values have not been emphasized in new institutional studies but successfully explained decision-making from other perspectives. By adding this dimension, I seek to explore whether individual factors, in this case the personal values the public decision-makers bring with them into the institutional context, affect the way they make decisions. Consequently, the aim of this thesis is to explore what decision-making logics that are at play among public-decision-makers and how this varies depending on context and personal values. This exploration is conducted by deriving and testing hypotheses on decision-making, from rational choice institutionalism and sociological institutionalism, in two different contexts, parliaments and collaborative management, within the same national arena. Parliaments have a homogenous composition of actors, i.e. politicians, whereas collaborative management arenas are constituted by the inclusion of both public and private actors in decision-making, resulting in a more heterogeneous composition. Through a study of local parliaments and wildlife conservation committees (a form of collaborative management on the regional level) in Sweden, the aim of the thesis is fulfilled by survey and interview analyses of decision-making in regards to different policy issues. The results show that there are different decision-making logics at play in the parliamentary case compared with the collaborative management case. Further, personal values influence the decision-making logics among the public decision-makers. The implications of these results are, firstly, that the conditionality of new institutionalism, as suggested in earlier research, is empirically prevalent in the studied cases and, secondly, that personal values play a role for what decision-making logics that are at play. Further research is encouraged to delve deeper into the results, preferably through qualitative studies that could complement the primarily quantitative focus of this thesis, and through studies of other national contexts than Sweden.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Luleå: Luleå tekniska universitet, 2018.
Series
Doctoral thesis / Luleå University of Technology 1 jan 1997 → …, ISSN 1402-1544
Keyword [en]
Decision-making, new institutionalism, rational choice, sociological institutionalism, values, public administration, wildlife management, local parliaments, collaborative management
National Category
Political Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-66964ISBN: 978-91-7790-019-1 (print)ISBN: 978-91-7790-020-7 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:ltu-66964DiVA: diva2:1164989
Public defence
A109, Luleå (Swedish)
Supervisors
Available from: 2017-12-18 Created: 2017-12-12 Last updated: 2017-12-18Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
  • apa
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