Accountability and Behaviour in Public Administration

  • Wed 22 Mar 23

    14:00 - 16:00

  • Online

    join this seminar

  • Event speaker

    Professor Thomas Schillemans, Utrecht University School of Governance (Netherlands)

  • Event type

    Lectures, talks and seminars
    Essex Accounting Centre (EAC) Research Seminar Series

  • Event organiser

    Essex Business School

  • Contact details

    Dr Chaoyuan She

The aim of the Essex Accounting Centre (EAC) research seminar series is to support our world-class research activities in five key areas: accounting and global development; capital Markets, audit, regulation & reporting; publicness and resilience, precarity, exclusion & social justice; and environment, climate change & vulnerability. The seminar series is also expected to promote inter-disciplinary research that links the work of members of the centre with others both within the university and with external institutions.

Seminar summary

Sanctions (punitive measures) are traditionally crucial in public sector accountability. However, recent doctrines such as New Public Governance propagate collaborative intra-organizational relationships which stand at odds with punitive measures. Further, empirical studies show that principals are often reluctant to use punitive measures and also point at the prevalence of informal mechanisms of accountability where punitive measures are absent. This raises the questions when and why non-punitive accountability is effective.
Non-punitive accountability is studied in a conjoint experiment establishing the antecedents of prioritization decisions (N=761) in varying non-punitive accountability conditions. The experiment was conducted with administrative leaders in Denmark. The results point at the importance of formal account-holding settings, as well as the presence of prior relationships and expectable demands. Non-punitive accountability can be effective when drawing on leaders’ extrinsic and relational motivation. The study expands our theoretical and empirical knowledge of the behavioural effects of accountability in contemporary public administration.


How to attend this seminar

This seminar is free to attend with no need to register in advance.

We welcome you to join us online on Wednesday 22 March at 2pm.


Speaker bio

Professor Thomas Schillemans

Thomas Schillemans is Professor in Public Governance at Utrecht University school of governance, the Netherlands, with a special focus on Accountability, Behavior and Institutions. His research focuses on the interactions of public sector organizations with various relevant stakeholders from their environment. He is one of the editors of the Oxford Handbook of Public Accountability. Amongst others he has published on horizontal accountability, stewardship theory, media and accountability and behavior and accountability. Schillemans is further scientific director of the Netherlands Institute of Governance.