A Contingency Approach to Representative Bureaucracy: Power, Equal Opportunities and Diversity

International Review of Administrative Sciences, Vol. 76, No. 2, 2010

32 Pages Posted: 24 Apr 2010

See all articles by Sandra Groeneveld

Sandra Groeneveld

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR)

Steven Van de Walle

Erasmus University Rotterdam - Department of Public Administration; KU Leuven - Department of Political Science

Date Written: April 22, 2010

Abstract

In this paper we develop a contingency approach to representative bureaucracy. We argue that representative bureaucracy is a multidimensional and changing concept, and that in the academic and policy debate on representative bureaucracy three different dimensions are intermingled: Power, equal opportunities and diversity. These dimensions do not only reflect a particular view on the role of the state and the relation between the state and citizens. They also diverge in the motives for making the bureaucracy representative. Even the conception of what representation means can be totally different. We conclude that modern diversity management approaches alone may not contribute to nation building because these mainly emphasize organisational performance. Approaches to representative bureaucracy in nation building must also be built on moral arguments and underline the exemplary role of the state. In addition, the political viability of managerial and moral approaches needs to be taken into account through acknowledging political realities and existing distributions of power in society.

Keywords: Democracy, diversity, equal opportunity, legitimacy, nation building, power, representative bureaucracy

JEL Classification: D73, J7, J78

Suggested Citation

Groeneveld, Sandra and Van de Walle, Steven and Van de Walle, Steven, A Contingency Approach to Representative Bureaucracy: Power, Equal Opportunities and Diversity (April 22, 2010). International Review of Administrative Sciences, Vol. 76, No. 2, 2010, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1594029

Sandra Groeneveld

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) ( email )

Burgemeester Oudlaan 50
3000 DR Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland 3062PA
Netherlands

Steven Van de Walle (Contact Author)

KU Leuven - Department of Political Science ( email )

Public Management Institute
Van Evenstraat 2A
B-3000 Leuven
Belgium
+32 16 323614 (Phone)
+32 16 323611 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.publicmanagementinstitute.be

Erasmus University Rotterdam - Department of Public Administration ( email )

3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands
0031 10 408 2518 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.stevenvandewalle.eu

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