SUBTHEME 1: Adapting to or Overcoming Fiscal Constraints

In this TAD conference sub-theme, we are interested in proposals that examine changes in public sector governance in the decade since 2007, the first year of the ‘Great Recession’ that led to the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) and widespread government retrenchment. We are particularly interested in papers that look at how governments sought to manage fiscal constraints, the actions taken to mitigate the effects of these constraints, the impact of these actions, and what they mean for how we understand the role of bureaucracies in hard times.

We encourage proposals in the following areas but are open to related topics:

  • Budgeting and financial management reforms arising from the GFC;
  • Administrative reform successes at national and sub-national levels from 2007 to 2017;
  • Changing political/administrative relationships arising from the GFC;
  • The effects of fiscal constraint on intergovernmental relationships in Europe (between countries) and in the U.S. (between levels of government)
  • Comparisons between the European and U.S. public sector interventions;
  • The role of non-decisions in bureaucratic reform: What should have been done, but wasn’t; and
  • The role of international organizations in national reform efforts.
EGPA Co-chair:

Prof Dr. Muiris MacCarthaigh

Lecturer in Politics and Public Administration

Queen’s University Belfast

The United Kingdom (Northern Ireland)

E-mail :

ASPA Co-chair:

Prof. Marilyn Rubin

City University of New York


E-mail :

SUBTHEME 2: Maintaining Democratic Values in Challenging Times

Can liberal democracy survive in the West?  Only a few years ago, this would have seemed an absurd question.  Western states were regarded as stable, consolidated democracies.  But the Western model is now under severe strain.  Critics complain about the capture of democratic institutions by technocrats and special interests.  Populists and nationalists are gaining in popularity.  Political polarization is intensifying.  Authoritarian and semi-authoritarian regimes seem to be outpacing the West. This sub-theme will explore the challenges confronting Western democratic states in transformative and unsettled situations such as crises.

We are interested in the following questions:  How are crises affecting governance legitimacy and citizens’ trust in governance? How to balance civil rights and civil liberties with societal security? What is the relationship between governance capacity and governance legitimacy? Are fears about the performance or durability of the democratic model justified?  Are shortfalls in democratic performance a symptom of transient economic and social conditions, or are there deeper structural problems with current democratic practice?  And what institutional reforms are necessary to improve the responsiveness and legitimacy of governments in the Western democracies?

EGPA Co-chair

Prof Dr. Per Lægreid

Department of Administration and Organization Theory

University of Bergen


E-mail :

ASPA Co-chair

Prof. Alasdair Roberts

University of Missouri

Truman School of Public Affairs


E-mail :

SUBTHEME 3: Encouraging and Sustaining Diverse and Inclusive Societies

It is hard to deny the value of having inclusive and diverse societies. Yet, events on both sides of the Atlantic are providing evidence for the opposite trend. Cities at the French Riviera have issued ordinances forbidding full-body beachwear as being against “good morals and secularism,” which also sent a signal that some religions and groups associated with them are not welcome. The growing popularity of protest movements such as Black Lives Matter indicate that the American society is not as inclusive as we would like to think it is. Ensuring equity of public policy making and implementation among social groups (whether based on race/ethnicity, religion, class, gender or any other cleavage line) is an essential goal of the democratic government. One way to achieve greater inclusiveness is by providing opportunities for diverse stakeholders to participate in government decision-making. Another way to achieve this goal is by ensuring that different societal groups are represented within the public bureaucracies.

This sub-theme welcomes (theoretical and empirical) papers on mechanisms for inclusion of diffuse interests in public policy-making and implementation, their effectiveness, and why some public organizations are more inclusive than others. Submissions might address: How responsive governments should be and how the level of responsiveness might vary across various policy domains? Are more inclusive organizations also trustworthy? We also welcome proposals that address the issues of representative bureaucracy and how governments can better represent the audiences they serve. How do public employees balance among various identities—professional, ethnic, racial—and which identity tends to overpower the others and under what conditions? What are driving forces and restraining forces to creating and maintaining diverse and inclusive societies and how can the driving forces be strengthened and the restraining forces reduced? How is representativeness linked to performance, organizational commitment, job satisfaction, retention, and other outcome variables? Can organizations be representative but not accountable, not transparent, and not trustworthy? To sum, this sub-theme focuses on the issues of inclusiveness and diversity and their relation to efficiency, effectiveness, equity, ethics, trustworthiness, transparency, and accountability of the government.

EGPA Co-chair:

Prof Dr. Eckhard Schröter

Professor of Public Administration

Zeppelin University


E-mail :

ASPA Co-chair:

Prof. Jonathan West

University of Miami

Chairperson of Political Science Department


E-mail :

ASPA Co-chair:

Prof.  Milena Neshkova

Florida International University

Department of Public Administration



SUBTHEME 4: International Migration, Changing Demographics and the Rise of Intense Nationalism

People are on the move, more often and over greater distances, with the U.N. reporting a 41% increase in international migration between 2000 and 2015. For migrants, this mobility can bring new economic opportunities or new forms of discrimination; for destination countries, migration can bring the benefits of diversity or populist backlash.  Whether experienced as benefit or curse, international migration poses difficult and novel governance challenges. How can public services be delivered to diverse and floating populations? How can migration be managed in an increasingly globalising world? How can existing policies and institutions be responsive to growing religious, cultural and racial diversity? And how can nations and regions cope with political resentment toward migration and diversity?

This panel welcomes a variety of perspectives on these governance challenges. Traditional public administration perspectives on public service delivery or representative bureaucracy, for example, might be extended to understanding the challenges of serving “super-diverse” immigrant communities.  Policy perspectives might be valuable for understanding the turbulent policy dynamics surrounding the movement, settlement and integration of migrants.  Political science perspectives may illuminate the political and institutional logics that lead to intense nationalism and a multilevel governance perspective might usefully reveal the difficulties of governing a domain that inevitably spans multiple levels. These perspectives and others can help public administration better respond to the complex governance challenges posed by international migration.

EGPA Co-chair:

Prof Dr. Peter Scholten

Associate Professor in Public Policy & Politics

Erasmus University Rotterdam

The Netherlands

E-mail :

ASPA Co-chair:

Prof. Christopher Ansell

University of California, Berkeley



SUBTHEME 5: Managing Organizations to Provide Quality Public Service

In this year’s focus on sustaining a democratic sector, our sub-theme of “Managing Organizations to Provide Quality Public Service” we hope to attract a variety of proposals that engage connections between organizational behavior, organizational theory, and positive outcomes in democratic public service. How is public value instilled, nurtured and organized? How are public servants motivated and how do managers manage that motivation for positive public outcomes? What are the organizational antecedents, correlates and consequences of: (1) high collective public values; or (2) of high collective public service motives?

The sub-theme will therefore explore organizational antecedents, correlates and consequences of creating public value through the lens of:

  • Intra-and inter-organizational management,
  • Organizational behavior and culture,
  • Public service motivation,
  • Human resource management,
  • Leadership,
  • Performance management, and
  • Public service and social innovations.

We welcome proposals, which draw upon multidisciplinary, theoretical perspectives and employ qualitative and/or quantitative methodologies to provide an evidence base on the management of organizations to provide quality services and create democratic, public value. We encourage early career researchers to submit research, which explores new ideas and scholarly enquiry in this area. We also welcome related research that underscores practical, implementable conclusions.

EGPA Co-chair:

Prof Dr. Karen Johnston

Professor of Organisational Studies

University of Portsmouth

The United Kingdom

ASPA Co-chair:

Prof. Rob Christensen

Brigham Young University

Marriott School of Management


E-mail :