What Explains Agency Heads’ Length of Tenure? Testing Managerial Background, Performance, and Political Environment Effects for Different Forms of Exit
34 Pages Posted: 15 Aug 2014 Last revised: 13 Jun 2016
Date Written: June 11, 2016
Influences on agency heads’ length of tenure depend on the way in which tenure ends, distinguished by moving to elsewhere in the public sector; the private sector; or retiring. We estimate survival models of agency heads’ tenure using panel data on British central government executive agencies from 1989-2012. Our findings suggest that chief executives of poorly performing agencies are encouraged to retire sooner. We find no evidence of change in political control increasing risk of any form of exit, suggesting that political pressure to leave is not substantial for this type of official. Outsiders (agency heads recruited from outside central government) are relatively difficult to retain for a longer time, such that potential shortfalls in suitable managers caused by retirements in an aging workforce may be difficult to make up by appointing from this source.
Keywords: agency head length of tenure, senior public managers, retention, public organizations
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