Department of Political Science

Balancing Focus on Results and Flexibility of Public Managers: A Panel Study of the Association Between Managerial Autonomy, Performance Demands and Organizational Performance

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearch

  • Bente Bjørnholt, VIVE, Denmark
  • Stefan Boye
  • Maria Falk Mikkelsen, VIVE
Empirical studies of enhanced managerial autonomy have found seemingly contradictory effects on performance, ranging from negative to positive. One explanations for the ambiguous results may be methodological since managerial autonomy is an elusive concept and thus difficult to measure both in itself and its effects. The article provides new evidence on the effect of autonomy by utilizing a unique panel data set consisting of two panel surveys (to municipal superintendents and school principals) matched to high quality panel data on individual students’ achievements and student mental health. By using both municipal (responsible for delegating authority to school managers) and school principals’ perceptions of managerial autonomy of principals, the paper is able to test thoroughly whether changes in managerial autonomy over time leads to changes in public service performance. Further, the paper test if a combination of autonomy and performance demands effects students’ achievements. We find that managerial autonomy does not link to students’ achievements or student mental health right regardless of how managerial autonomy is measured. However, if performance demands from superjacent levels accompanies managerial autonomy it has positive consequences for students’ achievements.
Original languageDanish
Publication year18 Apr 2019
Number of pages23
Publication statusPublished - 18 Apr 2019
EventIRSPM - International Research Society for Public Management 2019 - Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand
Duration: 16 Apr 201918 Apr 2019


ConferenceIRSPM - International Research Society for Public Management 2019
LocationVictoria University of Wellington
CountryNew Zealand

See relations at Aarhus University Citationformats

ID: 150458018