Department of Political Science

Public management at the frontline: The relationship between local regulation and managerial autonomy

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearch

  • Stefan Boye
  • Bente Bjørnholt, VIVE-The Danish Center for Social Science Research, Denmark
  • Nana Wesley Hansen, Københavns Universitet, Denmark
Reforms aiming at increasing frontline managerial autonomy in public organizations have been abundant in recent decades. However, we know surprisingly little of the merits of such reforms in doing so. In this paper, we investigate if a change in regulation of the working-time autonomy of managers and employees affects public managers’ perceptions of managerial autonomy. We combine content-coding of documents of local regulation regarding teachers’ working hours at municipal-level and four years of surveys of all Danish public school principals (n = 2,794). We estimate the within-change in school principals’ subjective autonomy based on changes in local regulation relating to their autonomy. We find little support for a practical and substantial effect of local regulation on managerial autonomy even for regulation that explicitly targets the autonomy of managers. The paper adds to similar findings in the literature, which shows a weak correspondence between policy trying to foster managerial autonomy and the subjective managerial autonomy of managers. The paper’s findings indicate that policymakers and decision-makers who want to increase managerial autonomy might have a hard time doing so.
Original languageEnglish
Publication year12 Sep 2019
Number of pages26
Publication statusPublished - 12 Sep 2019
EventEGPA conference 2019 - Queen's University , Belfast
Duration: 11 Sep 201913 Sep 2019


ConferenceEGPA conference 2019
LocationQueen's University

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