O’Connor, Karl (2017). What are the ideas and motivations of bureaucrats within a religiously contested society? International Review of Administrative Sciences, 83(1), 63-84.

Abstract: This article reports research on bureaucrat behaviour. Where discretion exists, do primary associations such as religious, gender or racial identity guide behaviour or are these associations superseded by secondary learned professional or technocratic attachments? Using the theoretical lens of representative bureaucracy and Q methodology to investigate bureaucrat role perceptions, two distinct bureaucrat typologies are identified in Belfast. The evidence demonstrates that an elite-level bureaucrat may actively represent his or her own professional interests or, alternatively, may seek out and actively represent the interests of the political elite as a collective. The findings have implications for representative bureaucracy research as it is demonstrated that an elite-level bureaucrat may actively represent something other than a primary identity. This contribution also provides a useful insight into everyday life within a bureau of a successful power-sharing system of governance.

Karl O’Connor <k.oconnor@ulster.ac.uk> is a member of the Faculty of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences, School of Applied Social and Policy Sciences, Ulster University, Jordanstown, Northern Ireland, UK.

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