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Accountability by Professionalism or Managerialism? Exploring Attitudes Among Swedish and Norwegian Local Government Leaders

Journal article
Authors A. Røiseland
Jon Pierre
A. Gustavsen
Published in International Journal of Public Administration
Volume 38
Issue 10
Pages 689-700
ISSN 0190-0692
Publication year 2015
Published at Department of Political Science
Pages 689-700
Language en
Keywords accountability, control, local government, new public management, professionalism
Subject categories Political Science


Most developed countries continue to experience problems with malfeasance and corruption, making accountability a fundamental concern of the public government. Still, the mechanisms which ensure accountability are not given. This article explores two different and apparently conflicting principles of accountability in public organizations: “Professionalism” based on values and internalized incentive structures and “Managerialism” based on externalized incentives and hierarchy. The empirical analysis is based on a comparative survey among local government leaders in Sweden and Norway. The analysis shows that both professionalism and managerialism are regarded as important means for accountability and tend to be understood as complementary more than competing principles. Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

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