Using multiple informants in public administration : Revisiting the managerial values and actions debate

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 62 - Review of books or of software (or similar publications/items)peer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)417-434
Journal / PublicationJournal of Public Administration Research and Theory
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2004
Externally publishedYes


Evidence is presented from a large-n longitudinal survey of multiple informants to address some of the weaknesses of the extant literature, namely the use of "elite," recall, and snapshot surveys together with the direction of causality in statistical models. These weaknesses are illustrated through a first time analysis of variations in management reform values and actions in local government. The empirical results indicate that management reform values and actions are contingent and vary between organizational members. In particular, service managers (first-line supervisors) responsible for implementing management reform actions offer more multifaceted explanations than senior executives. Prior research drawing evidence from single senior executive informants was unable to identify such variations; consequently, it is suggested that the results of this work need to be treated with caution. This study concludes that the empirical reality of management reform research is in need of further and more sophisticated methodologies.