Conditions: Agency characteristics

De jure formal independence was measured by the legal/structural type of agency, of which four different types were included, ranked here in order of increasing level of formal independence:

  • 1. Departments (7 organizations included): Units of the national government operating under direct supervision of ministers (or ministries), which do not have their own legal identity.
  • 2. Departmental agencies (10 organizations included): Units without their own legal identity but with extended forms of managerial autonomy.
  • 3. Public law agencies (12 organizations included): Entities operating under supervision of ministers but having their own legal identity and existence vested in public law.
  • 4. Private law agencies (for example, foundations) (1 organization included): Entities with their own legal identity vested in private law, but with a public task.4

We calibrated these types into a four-value fuzzy set (see Table 3.1). Furthermore, we included information on the level of self-perceived de facto managerial autonomy of the agency (as reported by the senior management of the agencies). We used the operationalization of strategic personnel management autonomy (Verhoest et al. 2010), referring to the extent to which the organization has the ability to decide upon regulations, procedures and criteria concerning the salary level, promotion and evaluation of staff itself, without interference from above (ministers or departments). For each of these items, organizations can either have no autonomy (score 0) or autonomy (score 1). An index of personnel management autonomy, varying between 0 and 3, was constructed by calculating the simple sum of the three sub scores for the three indicators. This index was calibrated to a four-value fuzzy set (see Table 3.1). An index was also constructed for financial management autonomy based on the aggregation of the scores on three indicators: the extent to which the organization is able to shift between personnel and running cost budgets, to set tariffs for services and products, and to shift between personnel and running cost budgets on the one hand and investment budgets on the other. Organizations can have no financial management autonomy (score 0); some financial management autonomy, meaning that organizations can do financial transactions with prior approval or within rules or restrictions set from above (score 1); or full financial management autonomy, enabling organizations to do financial transactions without prior approval and without rules and restrictions set from above (score 2). These categorical variables were transformed to a dummy for each of the three indicators. This dummy was set to zero if score equals 0 or 1 and set to one otherwise. An index of (strategic) financial management autonomy was then constructed, ranging from 0 to 3, calculated by the simple sum of these dummies, which was then calibrated as shown in Table 3.1.

Finally, we added information on the size of the agency. Size in terms of number of staff, measured in FTE, was included. These numbers were calibrated to a four-value fuzzy set: 'large organization', based on the empirical knowledge that regulatory agencies generally are more limited in size compared to public agencies with service delivery tasks (see Table 3.1).

 
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