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Instrumental and Personnel Governance of Executive Directors in Corporatized Public Service Provision

  • Public sector reforms have made the corporatization of public services a global phenomenon. Worldwide, public corporations provide critical services and infrastructures for citizen’s daily lives. In many countries, public corporations represent a substantial portion of both gross domestic product and employment. The COVID-19 pandemic has further highlighted the high societal relevance of public corporations in areas such as social/health care, mobility, and digitalization. The United Nation’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development emphasizes public corporations as key actors with role-model functions in the promotion and implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. Standing midway between in-house provision and privatization, the corporatization of public services has high potential to improve public service performance by enhancing managerial autonomy and professionalism while maintaining political control. However, the independent corporate status of public corporations and their operations outside the traditional administrative system induce far-reaching governance challenges. Being a substantial research and practice area, public corporate governance aims to provide perspectives on how public authorities could exercise their ownership function in order to ensure that public corporations act in accordance with public interest. It is executive directors in particular—occupying positions of great autonomy, power, and discretion—who play a key role in the governance of public corporations. This field, however, still has significant research gaps—one of which is the significant lack of theoretical understanding about how far different governance mechanisms could effectively mitigate critical issues in public corporate governance that are associated with the higher autonomy of executive directors operating in either profit-making or not profit-making public corporation forms. The overarching research connections of this dissertation aims to enhance the theoretical understanding of instrumental and personnel governance of executive directors in corporatized public service provision and to derive theoretical perspectives on governance differences between profit-making and not profit-making public corporation forms. Overall, this dissertation makes three key contributions. First, it elaborates novel perspectives of different governance mechanisms in the public corporation context by introducing a conceptual differentiation of instrumental and personnel governance. In this context, the dissertation enhances theoretical understanding and provides empirical findings on the effects of self-regulation and law as well as on the role of executive director characteristics in recruitment, pay, and turnover. Second, the presented work broadens the theoretical understanding of the interdependencies between different personnel and instrumental governance mechanisms, providing insights regarding their critical impact on the realization of policies and good public corporate governance at the executive director level. Third, this dissertation enriches the recent theoretical debates about the governance of decentralized public sector organizations by focusing on the increasingly relevant but still widely neglected organizational type “public corporation” and by accounting for governance differences between profit-making and not profit-making public corporation forms.

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Author:Christian Arno Schmidt
Referee:Ulf Papenfuß, Renate Meyer, Bernhard Hirsch
Document Type:Doctoral Thesis
Year of Publication:2022
Date of first Publication:2022/09/22
Publishing Institution:Zeppelin Universität
Granting Institution:Zeppelin Universität
Date of final exam:2022/03/18
Release Date:2022/09/22
Tag:corporatization, public corporate governance, state-owned enterprise, executive director pay, politicization
Page Number:V, 150, VI Seiten
Licence (German):License LogoUrheberrechtlich geschützt