What do bureaucrats like doing? Bureaucratic preferences in response to institutional reform

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


How do bureaucrats respond to administrative reform in relation to their overall administrative goals? The authors test the bureau-shaping thesis, which holds that bureaucrats' preferences for certain kinds of roles and tasks motivate their support for bureau reform. Drawing on attitudinal and behavioral data from a survey of English local government officials, the findings underscore how bureaucrats with different interests and motivations sort themselves into job types. Their preferences drive support for reform, which, in turn, strengthens the executive structure of English local government. Drawing on the literature on bureaucratic responses to institutional reform, the authors offer a more nuanced portrayal of bureaucratic preferences in line with the bureau-shaping model. A key conclusion: political principals need improved empirical awareness of bureaucratic preferences when undertaking public institutional reforms. Copyright © 2010 The American Society for Public Administration.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)455-463
Number of pages8
JournalPublic Administration Review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2010