The Use of Multiple Informants in Public Administration Research: Data Aggregation Using Organizational Echelons

Posted: 23 Mar 2009

See all articles by Gareth Enticott

Gareth Enticott

Cardiff University - School of City and Regional Planning; Cardiff University - Cardiff Business School

George Boyne

Cardiff University - Cardiff Business School

Richard M. Walker

The University of Hong Kong

Date Written: April 2009

Abstract

Surveys are an important methodological tool in public management research. Multiple informant surveys are held to have considerable methodological advantages over elite surveys (the practice of surveying a top manager, e.g., a chief executive). Although in principle multiple informant surveys can provide a more accurate organizational picture, problems of data aggregation arise in practice. To promote better use of multiple informant surveys, this article reviews approaches to aggregating organizational data. It provides the first empirical test of echelon methods of data aggregation for public management research. We find significant differences between echelon aggregations, elite surveys and unstandardized forms of aggregations (e.g., a simple mean). These results support our argument that careful theoretical and empirical analysis of multiple informant surveys data is required to provide valid and reliable measures of organizational properties.

Suggested Citation

Enticott, Gareth and Boyne, George and Walker, Richard Mark, The Use of Multiple Informants in Public Administration Research: Data Aggregation Using Organizational Echelons (April 2009). Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, Vol. 19, Issue 2, pp. 229-253, 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1365732 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jopart/mun017

Gareth Enticott (Contact Author)

Cardiff University - School of City and Regional Planning ( email )

Glamorgan Building
King Edward VII Avenue
Cardiff CF 10 3WA, Wales
United Kingdom
+44 (0)29 208 76243 (Phone)
+44 (0)29 208 74845 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.cf.ac.uk/cplan/staff/enticott_g.html

Cardiff University - Cardiff Business School

Centre for Local and Regional Government Research
Colum Drive
Cardiff, CF1 3YN
United Kingdom

George Boyne

Cardiff University - Cardiff Business School ( email )

Aberconway Building
Colum Drive
Cardiff, CF10 3EU
United Kingdom
+ 44 (0) 29 20 875572 (Phone)
+ 44 (0)29 20874419 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.cf.ac.uk/carbs/hrm/boyne.html

Richard Mark Walker

The University of Hong Kong ( email )

Pokfulam Road
Hong Kong, HK
China

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