Political Control or Professional Autonomy? A Case of Agency Director Resignation

Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-31816-5_4027-1



Political control is control by elected top leaders toward subordinate leaders and administrative units. Professional autonomy is freedom from interference of superior political leaders.


A classical theme in public administration research is the tension in the relationship between politics and administration, representing professional expertise. The autonomy of central public agencies has been a focus of many public organization research efforts showing that agencies may have a differentiated control and autonomy regime (Pollitt et al. 2004; Verhoest et al. 2012). The autonomy concept in public administration research is multifaceted, multidimensional, and ambiguous. Structural autonomy is the extent to which the agency is shielded from ministerial influence. Agencification tends to reduce political control, but within the principle of ministerial...

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Political scienceUniversity of OsloOsloNorway
  2. 2.University of BergenBergenNorway