Journal article

Into the Purple Zone: Deconstructing the Politics/Administration Distinction

John Alford, Jean Hartley, Sophie Yates, Owen Hughes

AMERICAN REVIEW OF PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION | SAGE PUBLICATIONS INC | Published : 2017

Abstract

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 administ..

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Funding Acknowledgements

The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This research was made possible with the assistance of a grant from the Australia and New Zealand School of Government.