Quotation Ebinger, Falk, Veit, Sylvia, Fromm, Nadin. 2019. The Partisan-Professional-Dichotomy revisited: Politicization and Decision-Making of Senior Civil Servants. Public Administration. 97 861-876.




Politicization has an ambivalent reputation among public administration scholars. While considered an effective instrument to safeguard political control over ministerial bureaucracy, partisanship of senior civil servants is likewise associated with patronage and deemed detrimental to professionalism and meritocracy. To scrutinize this contradiction, the article examines how a party‐political background of senior civil servants influences their decision‐making behavior. Two theoretically derived conceptions of loyalty are put therefore to the test: responsiveness and responsibility. Effects are captured by using vignette technique in 40 in‐depth interviews with former senior civil servants from ministerial departments at federal and state level in Germany. The results are surprising insofar as they reveal that politicized senior civil servants neither act more responsive nor less responsible than their non‐politicized peers. These findings challenge common assumptions and call for a more refined analysis of the conditions under which politicization leads to negative effects.


Press 'enter' for creating the tag
  • Politicization; Senior Civil Servants; Responsiveness; Responsibility; Patronage; Decision-making

Publication's profile

Status of publication Published
Affiliation WU
Type of publication Journal article
Journal Public Administration
Citation Index SSCI
WU Journalrating 2009 A
WU-Journal-Rating new INF-A, MAN-A, STRAT-B, WH-A
Language English
Title The Partisan-Professional-Dichotomy revisited: Politicization and Decision-Making of Senior Civil Servants
Volume 97
Year 2019
Page from 861
Page to 876
Reviewed? Y
URL https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/padm.12613
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/padm.12613
Open Access Y
Open Access Link https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/padm.12613


Ebinger, Falk (Former researcher)
Fromm, Nadin (Universität Kassel, Germany)
Veit, Sylvia (Universität Kassel, Germany)
Institute for Public Management and Governance IN (Details)
Research areas (ÖSTAT Classification 'Statistik Austria')
5118 Political science (Details)
5324 Organizational research (Details)
5351 Public economy (Details)
5963 Evaluation research (Details)
Google Scholar: Search