PAR Preview ▪ Issue 86 ▪ July 2017
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Network Structure, Strength of Relationships, and Communities’ Success in Project Implementation
Studies of network effectiveness in the collaborative public program setting commonly have found that actors with more organizational partners, more indirect (bridging) ties to other partners, and more cohesive relationships among partners have greater success in implementing projects. Manoj K. Shrestha (University of Idaho) contributes to this literature by developing and testing hypotheses about how strength of relationships, measured by frequency of contacts, moderates these results. In the context of community water supply projects in Nepal, the article shows that greater frequency of contacts between communities and organizational partners enhances the impact of having more partners and more cohesive relationships among partners but decreases the impact of having more indirect connections. For practitioners and network theorists, these findings highlight the importance of strength of relationships in the link between networks and performance. Link to PAR Early View
Diversity, Trust, and Social Learning in Collaborative Governance
Scholarship on collaborative governance identifies several structural and procedural factors that consistently influence governance outcomes. A promising next step for collaborative governance research is to explore how these factors interact. Focusing on two dimensions of social learning—relational and cognitive—as outcomes of collaboration, Saba Siddiki (Syracuse University), Jangmin Kim (Texas State University), and William D. Leach (University of Southern California) examine potential interacting effects of participant diversity and trust. The empirical setting entails 10 collaborative partnerships in the United States that provide advice on marine aquaculture policy. The findings indicate that diversity in beliefs among participants is positively related to relational learning, whereas diversity in participants’ affiliations is negatively related to relational learning, and high trust bolsters the positive effects of belief diversity on both relational and cognitive learning. In addition, high trust dampens the negative effects of affiliation diversity on relational learning. A more nuanced understanding of diversity in collaborative governance has practical implications for the design and facilitation of diverse stakeholder groups. Link to PAR Early View
Show Who the Money? Teacher Sorting Patterns and Performance Pay across U.S. School Districts
Pay for performance (PFP) remains one of the most controversial policy debates in the New Public Management reform era. Skepticism about PFP in the public sector is often grounded in theories of public service motivation that suggest a misalignment between PFP’s focus on extrinsic market-based pay incentives and intrinsically motivated government workers. Frequently missing from this analysis, however, is any consideration for whether PFP leads to positive “sorting” effects on the composition of a government agency’s workforce through attraction, selection, and attrition processes. Using data from two waves of the Schools and Staffing Survey, Michael Jones (University of Cincinnati) and Michael T. Hartney (Boston College) examine whether PFP influences the sorting patterns of K–12 public schoolteachers across U.S. school districts. Findings show that, on average, school districts that adopted PFP secured new teacher hires who had graduated from colleges and universities with average SAT scores that were about 30 points higher than the new teacher cohorts hired by districts that did not adopt PFP. Link to PAR Early View
A Cognitive Perspective on Policy Implementation: Reform Beliefs, Sensemaking, and Social Networks
Utilizing a cognitive perspective, this article examines the social processes through which teachers come to understand the Common Core State Standards. Michael D. Siciliano (University of Illinois at Chicago), Nienke M. Moolenaar (Utrecht University, The Netherlands), Alan J. Daly (University of California, San Diego), and Yi-Hwa Liou (National Taipei University of Education, Taiwan) begin by identifying three beliefs that have important implications for policy implementation: self-efficacy, resource adequacy, and value for clients. They measure those beliefs and the Common Core discussion networks that emerge among teachers at three points in time. Through the use of SIENA models, the authors explore how networks and beliefs coevolve within schools. Unlike prior research on social networks, which consistently finds strong homophilous tendencies, this research finds no evidence that teachers seek out coworkers who hold similar beliefs. Rather, teachers relied on preexisting formal and informal relationships to guide interactions. Those interactions were characterized by social influence, whereby a teacher’s own beliefs adapted toward the beliefs held by the members of their social network. The findings offer a novel perspective on the complex dynamic that occurs within organizations as new policies are unveiled and employees interact with one another to understand the changes those policies entail. Link to PAR Early View
Not Seeing Eye to Eye on Frontline Work: Manager-Employee Disagreement and Its Effects on Employees
John D. Marvel (George Mason University) uses nationally representative data on matched pairs of public school principals and teachers to test whether principal–teacher disagreement about the severity of school problems is associated with teacher turnover. More specifically, the author tests a managerial efficacy hypothesis that proposes that employees will be less likely to leave their jobs when their managers perceive problems to be severe, holding employees’ perceptions of the same problems constant. The author also tests a managerial buffering hypothesis that proposes that employees’ perceptions of problem severity will be more weakly related to their turnover probability when managers perceive problems to be severe. Little evidence is found for either hypothesis, raising questions about public school principals’ ability to translate problem recognition into problem remediation. More generally, the findings suggest a reexamination of the generic claim that “management matters,” which implies that public managers have the power to do things that can help employees perform their jobs well. Link to PAR Early View
Regional Governance and Institutional Collective Action for Environmental Sustainability
Hongtao Yi (The Ohio State University), Liming Suo (University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, China), Ruowen Shen, Jiasheng Zhang (Florida State University), Anu Ramaswami (University of Minnesota), and Richard C. Feiock (Florida State University) investigate why various mechanisms of cooperation among local authorities are chosen using the theoretical lens of institutional collective action (ICA). The article analyzes 564 local collaboration agreements drawn from four urban regions of China to explain the choices of environmental collaboration agreements among cities. Examples of three forms of interlocal agreements—informal, formal, and imposed agreements—are analyzed. Ordinal logistic regressions are estimated to test which factors predicted by the ICA framework influence the form of collaboration selected. The results indicate that the involvement of national or provincial government, the number of policy actors involved, heterogeneity of economic conditions, and differences in administrative level among the actors involved influence how collaboration agreements are structured. Examining the choice of agreement type contributes to the understanding of interlocal collaboration and provides practical insights for public managers to structure interlocal collaboration. Link to PAR Early View
Strategies for Improving Measurement Models for Secondary Data in Public Administration Research: Illustrations from the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey
Mark John Somers (New Jersey Institute of Technology) builds on Fernandez et al.’s 2015 review of Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS) research by focusing on two unexplored areas: measurement models and measurement quality. Employing the notion of an auxiliary measurement theory as an organizing framework, the author assesses the use of FEVS survey items to operationalize theoretical constructs and procedures in order to establish their psychometric quality. Results indicate that there is considerable variability in how FEVS items have been used to measure theoretical constructs, which is expressed as high levels of overlap across FEVS-derived scales. Inconsistency in the assessment of measurement quality is evident as well, with a bias toward convergent validity. Three cautionary tales are presented to demonstrate the fragility of FEVS data when used with a compromised auxiliary measurement theory. The article concludes with recommendations for future FEVS studies. Link to PAR Early View
Leading the Implementation of ICT Innovations
Morten Balle Hansen and Iben Nørup (Aalborg University, Denmark) analyze the associations between leadership, the implementation of information and communication technology (ICT) innovations, and performance. After reviewing theories and empirical evidence from the literature on leading change, ICT innovations, and performance, the authors elaborate hypotheses and test them in an analysis of the implementation of an ICT innovation in a Danish multisite hospital. In a quasi-experimental research design using panel data, survey responses from more than 2,000 employees before and after the implementation were generated, in addition to qualitative interviews with change agents. Findings indicate how differences in leadership during the ICT implementation process have an important impact on performance after the implementation. Mobilization of initial support, directive leadership through information and technical assistance, participative leadership through employee involvement, and locally adapted implementation processes are important leadership factors associated with performance. The article concludes by discussing broader perspectives of the study and implications for practice, theory, and future research. Link to PAR Early View
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