The political environment of public organizations: political salience, structural insulation, and goal ambiguity in U.S. federal agencies
Lee, Jung Wook
MetadataShow full item record
The political environment of public organizations has been a central theme in the study of public bureaucracy. Very few studies, however, relate aspects of the political environment of organizations to their organizational characteristics. This study employed political salience as a concept characterizing the political environment of public organizations, and investigated its effects on an organizational characteristic, goal ambiguity. Political salience of a public agency denotes the level of attention that external entities with political authority or influence devote to the agency. This dissertation develops a comprehensive framework for analyzing organizational goal ambiguity. The framework includes three general factors hypothesized to influence goal ambiguity: organizational characteristics, external environmental influences, and managerial actions and influences, and multiple variables within these factors. The analyses of 115 U.S. federal agencies show that their salience to major external actors (Congress, the president, and the media) as well as their overall salience to these entities (i.e., the combined salience of the three actors) related positively to evaluative goal ambiguity and priority goal ambiguity. Then, to analyze how the impact of the political environment on public organizations is conditioned by certain organizational characteristics, the analysis takes into account the agencies’ structural insulation from political influence (institutional location, board governance, fixed term, and specific qualifications for administrators). Insulating structures increase political transaction costs for the political forces that attempt to change agency priorities and directions. The findings are mixed regarding the efficacy of these structures. None were found to moderate the impact of presidential salience on priority goal ambiguity. On the other hand, three insulating structures (except for institutional location) moderated the impact of congressional salience on priority goal ambiguity, reducing it, as insulating arrangements should be expected to do. By developing concepts and measures for political salience and structural insulation, and showing relationships between these variables and an organizational characteristic—goal ambiguity—this study brings together concepts from organization theory and political science. It contributes to the analysis of government organizations and their political environments in a way that researchers have not often done, but in a type of research for which there is still more need.
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.
Meek, David Duncan (uga, 2014-05)What are the opportunities and constraints towards advancing agroecological education within Brazil’s Landless Workers’ Movement? In this dissertation, I advance a theoretical framework, which I term the political ecology ...
Minchola, Ninosca Perez (uga, 2007-08)This study looks to examine and describe the role of politeness in televised political interviews in Peru. Under the theoretical framework developed by Brown and Levinson (1987), politeness has been described as a tool for ...
Serieux-Lubin, Luanne (uga, 2014-05)In this study I addressed the contextual application of political development theories in the Caribbean with special reference to the post-colonial, politically independent, small-island developing state of St. Lucia. The ...