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Into the Purple Zone: Deconstructing the Politics/Administration Distinction

Alford, John; Hartley, Jean; Yates, Sophie and Hughes, Owen (2017). Into the Purple Zone: Deconstructing the Politics/Administration Distinction. The American Review of Public Administration, 47(7) pp. 752–763.

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We add new data to the long-standing debate about the interface between politics and administration, deploying theory and evidence indicating that it varies. It can be either a “purple zone” of interaction between the red of politics and the blue of administration, or a clear line. We use survey responses from 1,012 mostly senior public managers in the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand, along with semi-structured interviews with 42 of them, to examine the extent to which public managers perceive that they “cross” the line or go into a zone, and the ways in which they do so. Our inclusion of a zone as well as a line recasts how roles and relationships between politicians and administrators can be conceived. Moreover, it raises questions about how particular contingencies affect whether public managers perceive and work with a line or a zone.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2016 The Authors
ISSN: 1552-3357
Keywords: politics/administration dichotomy; political management; political astuteness; political skills
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Business and Law (FBL) > Business > Department for Public Leadership and Social Enterprise
Faculty of Business and Law (FBL) > Business
Faculty of Business and Law (FBL)
Research Group: Centre for Policing Research and Learning (CPRL)
Innovation, Knowledge & Development research centre (IKD)
Item ID: 45891
Depositing User: Jean Hartley
Date Deposited: 30 Mar 2016 13:14
Last Modified: 02 May 2019 07:49
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