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The Effect of Transparency on Trust in Government: A Cross-National Comparative Experiment
Transparency is considered a key value for trustworthy governments. However, the effect of transparency on citizens’ trust across national cultures is overlooked in current research. Stephan Grimmelikhuijsen (Utrecht University, The Netherlands), Gregory Porumbescu (Myongji University, South Korea), Boram Hong, and Tobin Im (Seoul National University, South Korea) compare the effect of transparency on trust in government in the Netherlands and South Korea. The effect is investigated in two similar series of three experiments. The authors hypothesize that the effect of transparency differs because the countries have different cultural values regarding power distance and short- and long-term orientation. Results reveal similar patterns in both countries: transparency has a subdued and sometimes negative effect on trust in government. However, the negative effect in South Korea is much stronger. The difference in the magnitude of transparency's effect suggests that national cultural values play a significant role in how people perceive and appreciate government transparency.
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Collaborative Procurement: A Relational View of Buyer–Buyer Relationships
Collaborative procurement is increasingly on the policy agenda in many countries, yet problems with collaboration occur. Helen Walker (Cardiff University, United Kingdom), Fredo Schotanus (University of Twente, The Netherlands), Elmer Bakker (iESE Ltd., United Kingdom), and Christine Harland (University of Bath, United Kingdom) adopt a relational theory perspective to explore the enablers of and barriers to collaboration in purchasing, helping identify success factors. They adopted a mixed qualitative/quantitative methodology and interviewed 51 senior staffers in the United Kingdom. They found that collaborative public procurement is hindered by local politics and differing priorities, supplier resistance, reliance on suppliers for data, and a lack of common coding systems. Enabling factors for collaborating with local governments include dealing with local issues and buying from small and medium-sized enterprises. For health care providers, important themes are product innovation and ensuring supply. The authors develop a list of enabling factors and show their effect on collaboration success. This may assist policy makers in identifying areas of guidance and help practitioners prevent problems in collaboration.
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Taking the High Ground: FEMA Trailer Siting after Hurricane Katrina
Using data on more than 300 census blocks from across New Orleans, Louisiana, Daniel P. Aldrich (Purdue University) and Kevin Crook (The Sterling Group) investigate two steps in the placement of temporary housing after Hurricane Katrina. First, they seek to understand the factors that determined whether census blocks were selected for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) trailers. Then, in light of the widespread resistance to the trailers, they focus on variables that influenced whether trailers were successfully placed on those sites. Despite past research arguing that race, collective action potential, and political factors are the primary determinants of facility placement and the success or failure of the attempt, these data show that technocratic criteria dominated. Interestingly, although census blocks in less vulnerable areas were more likely to be selected as locations for FEMA trailer parks than ones in more vulnerable areas, it was precisely the former areas where siting success was less likely. Flood-resistant areas that decision makers chose for housing were less willing to accept such projects than more flood-prone ones. Link to PAR Early View
Employee Empowerment, Employee Attitudes, and Performance: Testing a Causal Model
The last three decades have witnessed the spread of employee empowerment practices throughout the public and private sectors. A growing body of evidence suggests that employee empowerment can be used to improve job satisfaction, organizational commitment, innovativeness, and performance. Nearly all previous empirical studies have analyzed the direct effects of employee empowerment on these outcome variables without taking into account the mediating role of employee attitudes. Sergio Fernandez (Indiana University, Bloomington) and Tima Moldogaziev (University of South Carolina) contribute to the growing literature on employee empowerment by proposing and testing a causal model that estimates the direct effect of employee empowerment on performance as well as its indirect effects as mediated by job satisfaction and innovativeness. The empirical analysis relies on three years of data from the Federal Human Capital Survey/Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey and a structural equation modeling approach, including the use of lagged variables. The results support the hypothesized causal structure. Employee empowerment seems to have a direct effect on performance and indirect effects through its influence on job satisfaction and innovativeness, two key causal pathways by which empowerment practices influence behavioral outcomes. Link to PAR Early View