Bureaucrats, Authoritarianism, and Role Conceptions

Karl O'Connor, Colin Knox, Saltanat Janenova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Governance literature in the developed world is rich with scholarship on the role conceptions of civil servants and how these guide their behavior in the attainment of political objectives set by elected representatives. There is however a dearth of research on the various roles civil servants play in developing countries, specifically those located in authoritarian states. This study uses Q-methodology to examine the politician-bureaucrat interface in Kazakhstan, a highly centralized post-Soviet state. It finds evidence of three types of officials: job bureaucrats, policy entrepreneurs, and ethno-politicos. Tribalism and ethno-politics feature as an undercurrent in the political-administrative interface at the senior level. There is an overriding allegiance to the dominant political party that makes neutrality less important as an administrative tenet. Advancement as a career official has little to do with meritocracy, despite the façade, but rather connections are what matter.
LanguageEnglish
JournalReview of Public Personnel Administration
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2019

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role conception
civil servant
authoritarianism
tribalism
meritocracy
political goal
Kazakhstan
neutrality
entrepreneur
politician
career
developing country
governance
politics
methodology
evidence
literature

Keywords

  • development
  • bureaucrat role conceptions
  • civil service reform
  • authoritarian
  • Q methodology

Cite this

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Bureaucrats, Authoritarianism, and Role Conceptions. / O'Connor, Karl; Knox, Colin; Janenova, Saltanat.

In: Review of Public Personnel Administration, 15.11.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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