Decentralization has been a continual focus of attention of both scholars and practitioners for more than half a century. Even though there is a general agreement on what decentralization is, there is no consensus about how it should be measured. This article builds on the existing body of literature that specifies three major dimensions of decentralization: political, administrative, and economic. The article offers a measurement model that unifies these dimensions in a meaningful manner that allows for comparison across countries. The proposed model is then empirically tested using confirmatory factor analysis of a data set of 37 countries over the period 2000-2009. This factor analysis reveals that there are, in fact, only two dimensions of the decentralization process. The newly developed model’s index illustrates that the conceptually challenging processes of decentralization can be accurately measured and analyzed. The index can be used for hypothesis testing of the causality role of decentralization.
This paper offers a critical commentary on Mark Bevir’s recent book A Theory of Governance from the perspective of normative political philosophy. It explores three ways in which Bevir’s analysis can be brought into dialogue with political philosophy. First, it considers the role of generalizations in successful explanations of social phenomena. Second, it explores how a decentred theory of governance can help identify solutions to important social problems. Third, it explores the relation between Bevir’s account of governance and theories of deliberative democracy,
Past research on transformational leadership in organizations has neglected the organizational context in which such leadership is embedded, and the significance of the disposition of followers. The purpose of the present study was to enrich and refine transformational leadership theory by linking it to organizational context and the self-esteem of followers. It was expected that organizational characteristics and subordinates’ self-esteem could moderate the effects of transformational leadership behavior on job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and organizational citizenship behavior. Results revealed that only organizational-based self-esteem (OBSE) significantly moderated the impact of transformational leadership behavior on organizational citizenship behavior (OCB). Within-and-between-analysis procedures (WABA) were used to determine the appropriate level of data analysis. Research finding suggests that managers should provide individualized performance feedback for high OBSE subordinates and spend more time coaching those subordinates with low OBSE on a one-to-one basis.
Governance is central to our current understanding of public administration and policy. Mark Bevir’s work provides governance studies solid epistemological grounding through a social constructionist approach which gives rise to a decentered theory of governance. This article explains decentered theory by examining the entrepreneurial subject as an artifact of neo-liberal governance. In doing so, it explores the key concepts that give shape to decentered theory.
A concern with these deeper philosophical questions about governance is one of the things that distinguishes Mark Bevir’s work in governance studies. This is not surprising, given that Bevir’s uncommonly broad body of work includes major contributions to the philosophy of history and to methodological debates in political science and the other social sciences. Indeed, the central themes of Bevir’s philosophical and methodological work also appear in his contributions to governance studies. One such theme is his postfoundationalism: his denial that social scientists can justify their claims by appealing to theory-neutral facts discovered through observation.
Mark Bevir’s A Theory of Governance proposes a Copernican revolution in the way we understand the role of social science in public administration. Conventional accounts assign social science the role of instructing public administrators how to steer its machinery towards the public interest, based on social science’s alleged ability to explain how people act and what they need. Bevir offers a vision of public administration in which ordinary people take a leading role by engaging in dialogues in which they articulate their needs. In this vision, the role of social science is to facilitate those public dialogues. This essay offers a sympathetic critical evaluation of Bevir’s exploration of what it means to understand social science as a facilitator.
This paper is a response to Gary Marshall, Colin Macleod, and Amit Ron’s careful discussions of my book, A Theory of Governance. The word “governance” is used in two contexts that might initially appear to have little relation to each other. Governance is used, first, as a general term to discuss abstract theories of coordination and organization. And governance is used, second, to narrate a historic shift in public organization and action. A Theory of Governance offers a decentered theory (part one of the book) that seeks to combine a general analysis of various forms of coordination and organization (part two of the book) with a narrative of recent changes in public organization and action (part three of the book). In this paper, I emphasize that decentered theory turns to historical genealogies to avoid determinism, reification, and foundationalism. Contemporary governance is, therefore, the variegated product of contests over meanings, specifically those reform agendas that have sought to spread markets and networks. I conclude the essay with some reflections on the nature and importance of democratic innovations within governance.