Modernizing public service accountability: theory and practice

dc.contributor.authorJarvis, Mark D.
dc.contributor.supervisorBakvis, Herman
dc.date.accessioned2017-04-27T17:33:41Z
dc.date.available2017-04-27T17:33:41Z
dc.date.copyright2017en_US
dc.date.issued2017-04-27
dc.degree.departmentSchool of Public Administrationen_US
dc.degree.levelDoctor of Philosophy Ph.D.en_US
dc.description.abstractThe manner in which public servants are held to account and the purposes of accountability at the bureaucratic level is a relatively unexplored field. This dissertation is comprised of three separate studies investigating hierarchical accountability, the accounting officer system in Canada, and accountability among public servants. Together, they address critical questions: i) how can existing theory on accountability be reconciled with hierarchy and the delegation of authority; ii) the principles and practices of the accounting officer system; and iii) internal public service accountability mechanisms. This dissertation explores whether we can develop — and implement — a systematic approach to empirically investigating how accountability is practiced, as a means of advancing our theoretical and practical understanding of accountability. The three studies draw on evidence collected over a four-year period, including interviews with public servants conducted in Australia, Canada, and the Netherlands. Some of the key theoretical perspectives evaluated include an adapted version of Aucoin and Heintzman’s (2000) framework on accountability and performance management and, Bovens, Schillemans and ’t Hart’s (2008) practices and purposes of accountability framework. The conclusions of the dissertation are threefold: first, that while overall the normative purposes of accountability as described in the frameworks (democratic control, assurance, learning and results) are, to a substantial degree, observed in practice, there are nonetheless some serious deficiencies in our understanding of the purposes of accountability; second, there is considerable variation in practices from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and, within each specific jurisdiction, specific practices are shaped to a considerable degree by the institutionalized context in which these practices are carried out; and third, an empirical approach to studying accountability practices offers a promising way to address the lack of empirical knowledge, and a way to bolster both our theoretical and practical understanding of actual accountability practices.en_US
dc.description.proquestcode0617en_US
dc.description.proquestcode0615en_US
dc.description.scholarlevelGraduateen_US
dc.identifier.bibliographicCitationJarvis, Mark D. (2014). Hierarchy. The Oxford Handbook of Public Accountability. Mark Bovens, Thomas Schillemans, and Robert E. Goodin (Eds.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 405–420.en_US
dc.identifier.bibliographicCitationJarvis, Mark D. (2009). The adoption of the accounting officer system in Canada: Changing relationships? Canadian Public Administration, 52, 525–547.en_US
dc.identifier.bibliographicCitationJarvis, Mark D. (2014). The Black Box of Bureaucracy: Interrogating Accountability in the Public Service. Australian Journal of Public Administration, V73 (4), 450–466.en_US
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1828/8001
dc.languageEnglisheng
dc.language.isoenen_US
dc.rightsAvailable to the World Wide Weben_US
dc.subjectaccountabilityen_US
dc.subjecthierarchyen_US
dc.subjectdelegationen_US
dc.subjectcivil serviceen_US
dc.subjectperformance managementen_US
dc.subjectdemocracyen_US
dc.subjectgovernanceen_US
dc.subjectelectionsen_US
dc.subjectpublic administrationen_US
dc.subjectbureaucracyen_US
dc.titleModernizing public service accountability: theory and practiceen_US
dc.typeThesisen_US

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