Public administrators in interactive democracy: a multi-paradigmatic approach

Eva Sørensen*, Tina Øllgaard Bentzen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Currently, interactive forms of democracy that bring local politicians into dialogue and collaboration with relevant and affected citizens are mushrooming. While some research has investigated how interactive democracy affects citizens and politicians, we know little about what interactive democracy means for public administrators. This article presents the results of a case study of role perceptions and coping strategies among public administrators assisting a new type of interactive political committee in two Nordic municipalities. Guided by a multi-paradigmatic conceptual framework featuring public administrators’ roles and coping strategies in interactive governance, the study shows that individual public administrators identify with different administrative roles, and that political and administrative leadership sentiments condition their choice of coping strategies. Moreover, the coping strategy that public administrators select to handle intra- and inter-paradigmatic role dilemmas can have dire consequences for the interplay between interactive democracy and local representative government
Original languageEnglish
JournalLocal Government Studies
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)139-162
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Important note from the Publisher regarding the attached version of the article: “This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Local Government Studies on 09 Jun 2019, available online:”


  • interactive democracy
  • administrative roles
  • coping strategies
  • administrative paradigms

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