Motivation of MPs and Political Will

  • Gabriela Thompson
  • Anthony Staddon
Part of the Studies in Public Choice book series (SIPC, volume 34)


A consistent theme in Chaps.  3,  4,  5,  6,  7 and  8 was the importance of political will in effective oversight. Despite its importance, however, there is very little understanding of what political will is and how it is to be fostered. This Chapter argues political will is best understood as consisting of three elements: motivation, volunteerism and organizational culture. Motivation is primarily about the individual MP and his/her particular reasons for tackling issues of corruption. Parliaments must ensure that MPs are not micro-managed and are trusted to exercise autonomy in how to achieve their oversight objectives. Parliamentarians, however, are providing a service not merely doing a job; as a result, an element of volunteerism also needs to be fostered and maintained. Common and successful ways of doing so are through the allocation of desirable roles (e.g., committee chairmanships) and public recognition. There are implications for the organization of parliaments: firstly, they must provide a working environment in which MPs can exercise autonomy in achieving their goals; secondly, the leadership within parliament must act by example, conducting oversight openly but also publicly recognizing and rewarding the oversight activities of individuals and committees. Although this Chapter focusses primarily on MPs, it is recognized that the parliamentary culture extends beyond parliamentarians to include parliamentary staff. Thus, the relationship between the two is also vital to robust oversight.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gabriela Thompson
    • 1
  • Anthony Staddon
    • 2
  1. 1.King’s CollegeLondonUK
  2. 2.University of WestminsterLondonUK

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