How politicians and bureaucrats network: A comparison across governments

Damon Alexander, Jenny Lewis, Mark Considine

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Effective public administration relies on the passage of information through interpersonal communication networks. While we have a vast research literature concerning formal structures and roles in organizations, including public agencies and government institutions, we know far less about the flow of information through semiformal, voluntary interactions. In this paper we use a large survey to explore the networking patterns of politicians and bureaucrats and to compare these with the more formal structural attributes of hierarchy and functional specialization. Social network analysis and standard quantitative measures are used to examine which actors are most central in advice and strategic information networks and how this varies across governments. The results suggest that the communication networks of politicians and bureaucrats differ substantially, with politicians being surprisingly peripheral in their patterns of interaction. Differences across governments are also observed with some municipalities being markedly more hierarchical, cross-organizational, and externally focused in their networking behaviour.

TidsskriftPublic Administration
Udgave nummer4
Sider (fra-til)1274-1292
StatusUdgivet - 2011

Bibliografisk note

Accepted in May 2010.

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