Functional Politicisation Among Lower-Ranking Civil Servants

Conflicts and Dilemmas in Danish Central Government

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review

Resumé

The role of the civil servant in modern democracies is increasingly complex due to multiple and co-existing forms of democratic governance. Civil servants need to balance between traditional bureaucratic norms ensuring a rule-governed public administration where they represent neutral competencies within the political system, while they at the same time must ensure efficiency in the public sector, interact with various stakeholders and citizens, and ensure the loyal implementation of the will of elected politicians.

In the wake of several Danish political scandals involving both ministers and civil servants, the so called Bo Smith Commission was established in order to examine and discuss the current norms and practices of the civil service. In this article we draw on a survey conducted by the Bo Smith Commission in 2015 including nearly 4.000 lower-ranking civil servants. Through an in-depth study of the 554 responses in the open category, we uncover how functional politicization is manifested in Danish state administration among lower-ranking civil servants. The study, thus, uncovers in detail the characteristics of functional politicization and investigates the coping strategies of lower-ranking civil servants, when the demand for political responsiveness compromises classical norms integrated in the Rechtsstat.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftScandinavian Journal of Public Administration
Vol/bind22
Udgave nummer3
Sider (fra-til)39-63
Antal sider25
ISSN2001-7405
StatusUdgivet - 13 sep. 2018

Citer dette

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title = "Functional Politicisation Among Lower-Ranking Civil Servants: Conflicts and Dilemmas in Danish Central Government",
abstract = "The role of the civil servant in modern democracies is increasingly complex due to multiple and co-existing forms of democratic governance. Civil servants need to balance between traditional bureaucratic norms ensuring a rule-governed public administration where they represent neutral competencies within the political system, while they at the same time must ensure efficiency in the public sector, interact with various stakeholders and citizens, and ensure the loyal implementation of the will of elected politicians.In the wake of several Danish political scandals involving both ministers and civil servants, the so called Bo Smith Commission was established in order to examine and discuss the current norms and practices of the civil service. In this article we draw on a survey conducted by the Bo Smith Commission in 2015 including nearly 4.000 lower-ranking civil servants. Through an in-depth study of the 554 responses in the open category, we uncover how functional politicization is manifested in Danish state administration among lower-ranking civil servants. The study, thus, uncovers in detail the characteristics of functional politicization and investigates the coping strategies of lower-ranking civil servants, when the demand for political responsiveness compromises classical norms integrated in the Rechtsstat.",
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Functional Politicisation Among Lower-Ranking Civil Servants : Conflicts and Dilemmas in Danish Central Government. / Poulsen, Birgitte; Koch, Pernille Boye.

I: Scandinavian Journal of Public Administration, Bind 22, Nr. 3, 13.09.2018, s. 39-63.

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review

TY - JOUR

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AU - Poulsen, Birgitte

AU - Koch, Pernille Boye

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N2 - The role of the civil servant in modern democracies is increasingly complex due to multiple and co-existing forms of democratic governance. Civil servants need to balance between traditional bureaucratic norms ensuring a rule-governed public administration where they represent neutral competencies within the political system, while they at the same time must ensure efficiency in the public sector, interact with various stakeholders and citizens, and ensure the loyal implementation of the will of elected politicians.In the wake of several Danish political scandals involving both ministers and civil servants, the so called Bo Smith Commission was established in order to examine and discuss the current norms and practices of the civil service. In this article we draw on a survey conducted by the Bo Smith Commission in 2015 including nearly 4.000 lower-ranking civil servants. Through an in-depth study of the 554 responses in the open category, we uncover how functional politicization is manifested in Danish state administration among lower-ranking civil servants. The study, thus, uncovers in detail the characteristics of functional politicization and investigates the coping strategies of lower-ranking civil servants, when the demand for political responsiveness compromises classical norms integrated in the Rechtsstat.

AB - The role of the civil servant in modern democracies is increasingly complex due to multiple and co-existing forms of democratic governance. Civil servants need to balance between traditional bureaucratic norms ensuring a rule-governed public administration where they represent neutral competencies within the political system, while they at the same time must ensure efficiency in the public sector, interact with various stakeholders and citizens, and ensure the loyal implementation of the will of elected politicians.In the wake of several Danish political scandals involving both ministers and civil servants, the so called Bo Smith Commission was established in order to examine and discuss the current norms and practices of the civil service. In this article we draw on a survey conducted by the Bo Smith Commission in 2015 including nearly 4.000 lower-ranking civil servants. Through an in-depth study of the 554 responses in the open category, we uncover how functional politicization is manifested in Danish state administration among lower-ranking civil servants. The study, thus, uncovers in detail the characteristics of functional politicization and investigates the coping strategies of lower-ranking civil servants, when the demand for political responsiveness compromises classical norms integrated in the Rechtsstat.

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