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Exit, Voice, and Sabotage: Public Service Motivation and Guerrilla Bureaucracy in Times of Unprincipled Political Principals

Schuster, J; Mikkelsen, K; Correa, I; Meyer-Sahling, J; (2021) Exit, Voice, and Sabotage: Public Service Motivation and Guerrilla Bureaucracy in Times of Unprincipled Political Principals. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory , Article muab028. 10.1093/jopart/muab028. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Democratic backsliding has multiplied “unprincipled” political principals: governments with weak commitment to the public interest. Why do some bureaucrats engage in voice and guerrilla sabotage to thwart policies against the public interest under “unprincipled principals,” yet others do not? Despite its centrality in contemporary governance, this conundrum has not seen quantitative research. We address this gap with survey evidence from 1,700 Brazilian public servants during the Temer Presidency, widely perceived to lack democratic legitimacy and integrity. We focus on one key explanator: public service motivation (PSM). We argue that bureaucrats with greater PSM are more likely to engage in voice and sabotage of “unprincipled policies,” and exit to avoid implementing “unprincipled policies.” Structural equation models support these hypotheses. Public service-motivated bureaucracies are thus short-run stalwarts against “unprincipled” political principals. Over time, they look to depart, however, leaving “unprincipled” principals a freer hand to pursue policies against the public interest.

Type: Article
Title: Exit, Voice, and Sabotage: Public Service Motivation and Guerrilla Bureaucracy in Times of Unprincipled Political Principals
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1093/jopart/muab028
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1093/jopart/muab028
Language: English
Additional information: © The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Public Management Research Association. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. For commercial re-use, please contact journals.permissions@oup.com
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Political Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10131003
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