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The Bias of Structures: How Multidivisional Organizations Work in the Public Sector

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  • Marian Döhler

    () (Leibniz Universität Hannover)

Abstract

Abstract This paper discusses the unexploited possibilities that organization theory offers for explaining the policy output of public-sector organizations. Although political scientists frequently argue that organization matters, exactly how it matters remains unresolved. To investigate this issue, the concept of the multidivisional organization (M-form) is applied to the public sector. Three dimensions of the M-form are identified for closer inspection: 1) the structure-strategy relationship, 2) the managerial or leadership dimension, and 3) the external-relations dimension. Several empirical examples are used to demonstrate that the M-form exerts an independent impact on policy output. While the M-form allows a single organization to perform multiple functions, it also works against crosscutting policies and is inclined toward clientelism and capture. The use of the M-form concept is beneficial for political science analyses in that it requires paying greater attention to the “internal life” of governmental and public-sector organizations.

Suggested Citation

  • Marian Döhler, 2017. "The Bias of Structures: How Multidivisional Organizations Work in the Public Sector," Public Organization Review, Springer, vol. 17(1), pages 83-100, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:porgrv:v:17:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s11115-015-0329-8
    DOI: 10.1007/s11115-015-0329-8
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    8. Moe, Terry M, 1991. "Politics and the Theory of Organization," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(0), pages 106-129, Special I.
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