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Title: Bureaucratic motivations : an examination of motivations in the US Environmental Protection Agency and the Environment Agency for England and Wales
Author: McMahon, Robert Kieran
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 1999
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This thesis examines the motivations of bureaucrats in two government agencies: the Environmental Protection Agency in the US, and the Environment Agency for England and Wales. The model employed in this work is a Trifocal Model which utilises Rational Choice, Institutional and Cultural approaches in answering the thesis question. The aim of this work is two-fold: one aim is to explain motivations in two agencies; the second aim is to suggest why the existing literature in the field of bureaucracy often fails to capture the diversity of bureaucratic motivations. The claim is that the adherence to one particular paradigmatic approach prevents scholars from attaining a comprehensive understanding of motivations. This work focuses on two elements of the Trifocal Approach, namely institutional and cultural explanations. Rational Choice explanations are given a limited explanatory role in this work, in large part because of the restricted usefulness of an approach which takes the preferences of agents as given. This thesis uses a scientific approach to the analysis of qualitative data, allowing other researchers to make use of, and indeed to question, the findings presented below. The argument in this thesis suggests why scholars must pay more attention to what those people within bureaucracies tell us about themselves and their motivations. To take the preferences of agents as givens is to ignore much of what is most important about the study of politics that is, where preferences come from, and how they shape the political behaviour we observe in bureaucracies. This thesis will show that public sector reforms are often flawed, often failing to consider the interplay of cultural and institutional effects, and how these effects have a bearing on the motivations of staff in organisations undergoing reform. Furthermore, cultural and institutional factors must be considered whenever one considers the question what is it that motivates bureaucrats.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Bureaucracy ; Case studies ; Motivation (Psychology) ; Great Britain ; United States Political science Public administration Management