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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
Keywords [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, id: diva2:1164989
Public defence
2018-03-02, A109, Luleå Tekniska Universitet, Luleå, 13:00
Supervisors
Available from: 2017-12-18 Created: 2017-12-12 Last updated: 2018-02-09Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Local Political Decision-Making: A Case of Rationality or Appropriateness?
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Local Political Decision-Making: A Case of Rationality or Appropriateness?
2015 (English)In: Local Government Studies, ISSN 0300-3930, E-ISSN 1743-9388, Vol. 41, no 6, p. 917-936Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The party and trustee principles are two representational styles used to describe how politicians make decisions. Swedish politicians have historically relied more on the party principle than the trustee principle. This article studies the decision-making practices of local Swedish politicians by exploring to what extent they rely on these principles when making decisions on two issues that diverge in political dignity: tax level and organisational change in the municipal administration. The study draws on new institutional theory, in which theories from rational choice and sociological institutionalism were used for modelling and performing a large study. The results indicate that, although Swedish politicians still rely on the party principle when making decisions, there is a significant difference as to what extent they do so in regard to the two policy issues. The trustee principle is more frequently used when deciding on organisational change than on tax levels. This result is valid for all Swedish parties, except for a relatively new political party at the extreme right of the ideological spectrum. Future research of the two decision-making principles in relation to other policy issues, as well as research that delves deeper into the deviant results of the different political parties, is encouraged.

National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies)
Research subject
Political Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-15616 (URN)10.1080/03003930.2015.1050094 (DOI)000369889800006 ()2-s2.0-84942822393 (Scopus ID)f280207f-1880-4d76-b64f-9e8bff0ac3ad (Local ID)f280207f-1880-4d76-b64f-9e8bff0ac3ad (Archive number)f280207f-1880-4d76-b64f-9e8bff0ac3ad (OAI)
Note

Validerad; 2015; Nivå 2; 20150609 (jennil)

Available from: 2016-09-29 Created: 2016-09-29 Last updated: 2018-07-10Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
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Output format
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