Representative Bureaucracy: Exploring the Potential for Active Representation in Local Government

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Mark Bradbury Ph.D., Associate Professor, Director of MPA Program (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
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Abstract: The theory of representative bureaucracy suggests that a demographically diverse public sector workforce (passive representation) will lead to policy outcomes that reflect the interests of all groups represented, including historically disadvantaged communities (active representation). Implicit in the passive-active link is the expectation that minority public administrators, in particular, will have similar attitudes to minority citizens on issues of critical import and relevance to those citizens, and those attitudes, in turn, will influence policy decisions. This research examines the attitudes of citizens and administrators on a series of survey items focused on the responsibilities of local government administrators to advocate for the interests of the African-American community. The survey results confirm the hypothesis that African-American citizens and administrators are more likely than white citizens and administrators to support governmental behaviors that specifically target the interests of the African-American community and that African-American citizens and administrators hold markedly different attitudes from white administrators. Most significantly, attitude congruence with the views of African-American citizens by administrators is shown to be a significant predictor of the adoption of an African-American representative administrative role, overwhelming the influence of other variables including race.

Additional Information

Bradbury, M. and Kellough, J. E. (2008). Representative bureaucracy: Exploring the potential for active representation in local government. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 18(4): 697-714. (Oct 2008). Published by Oxford University Press (ISSN: 1053-1858).
Language: English
Date: 2008

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