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Thema-artikel

Verantwoorde algoritmisering: zorgen waardengevoeligheid en transparantie voor meer vertrouwen in algoritmische besluitvorming?

Tijdschrift Bestuurskunde, Aflevering 4 2020
Trefwoorden algorithms, algorithmization, value-sensitivity, transparency, trust
Auteurs Dr. Stephan Grimmelikhuijsen en Prof. dr. Albert Meijer
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Algorithms are starting to play an increasingly prominent role in government organizations. The argument is that algorithms can make more objective and efficient decisions than humans. At the same time, recent scandals have highlighted that there are still many problems connected to algorithms in the public sector. There is an increasing emphasis on ethical requirements for algorithms and we aim to connect these requirements to insights from public administration on the use of technologies in the public sector. We stress the need for responsible algorithmization – responsible organizational practices around the use of algorithms – and argue that this is needed to maintain the trust of citizens. We present two key components of responsible algorithmization – value-sensitivity and transparency – and show how these components connect to algorithmization and can contribute to citizen trust. We end the article with an agenda for research into the relation between responsible algorithmization and trust.


Dr. Stephan Grimmelikhuijsen
Dr. S.G. Grimmelikhuijsen is universitair hoofddocent Publiek Management aan de Universiteit Utrecht, Departement Bestuurs- en Organisatiewetenschap.

Prof. dr. Albert Meijer
Prof. dr. A.J. Meijer is hoogleraar Publiek Management aan de Universiteit Utrecht, Departement Bestuurs- en Organisatiewetenschap.
Thema-artikel

Inzicht in transparantie

Een essay over trade-offs achter algoritmische besluitvorming

Tijdschrift Bestuurskunde, Aflevering 4 2020
Trefwoorden transparency, value conflict, algorithms, trade-offs, public values, ethics
Auteurs Joanna Strycharz Msc, Dr. ir. Bauke Steenhuisen en Dr. Haiko van der Voort
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Algorithms applied in public administration are often criticized for lack of transparency. Lawmakers and citizens alike expect that automated decisions based on algorithmic recommendations to be explainable. The focus of this article is the organizational context behind the idea of transparent algorithms. Transparency is portrayed as one of numerous values that are at play when algorithms are applied in public administration. The article shows that applying algorithms may lead to conflicts between these values. Such conflicts often result in trade-off decisions. Looking from the organizational perspective, we describe how such trade-offs can be made both explicitly and implicitly. The article thus shows the complexity of algorithmic trade-offs. As a result of this complexity, we not only call for more transparency about algorithms, but also more transparency about trade-offs that take place in public administration. Finally, we present a research agenda focused on studying the organization of trade-offs.


Joanna Strycharz Msc
J. Strycharz, Msc is universitair docent Persuasive Communication aan de Universiteit van Amsterdam, Faculteit Maatschappij- en Gedragswetenschappen.

Dr. ir. Bauke Steenhuisen
Dr. ir. B.S. Steenhuisen is universitair docent Organisatie & Governance aan de TU Delft, Faculteit Techniek, Bestuur en Management.

Dr. Haiko van der Voort
Dr. H.G. van der Voort is universitair docent Organisatie & Governance aan de TU Delft, Faculteit Techniek, Bestuur en Management.
Thema-artikel

Access_open Transparantie van algoritmen: naar een empirische onderzoeksagenda

Tijdschrift Bestuurskunde, Aflevering 4 2020
Auteurs Dr. Haiko van der Voort en Joanna Strycharz Msc
Auteursinformatie

Dr. Haiko van der Voort
Dr. H.G. van der Voort is universitair docent Organisatie & Governance aan de TU Delft, Faculteit Techniek, Bestuur en Management.

Joanna Strycharz Msc
J. Strycharz, Msc is universitair docent Persuasive Communication aan de Universiteit van Amsterdam, Faculteit Maatschappij- en Gedragswetenschappen.
Thema-artikel

Een transparant debat over algoritmen

Tijdschrift Bestuurskunde, Aflevering 4 2020
Trefwoorden AI, ethics, Big Data, human rights, governance
Auteurs Dr. Oskar J. Gstrein en Prof. dr. Andrej Zwitter
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    The police use all sorts of information to fulfil their tasks. Whereas collection and interpretation of information traditionally could only be done by humans, the emergence of ‘Big Data’ creates new opportunities and dilemmas. On the one hand, large amounts of data can be used to train algorithms. This allows them to ‘predict’ offenses such as bicycle theft, burglary, or even serious crimes such as murder and terrorist attacks. On the other hand, highly relevant questions on purpose, effectiveness, and legitimacy of the application of machine learning/‘artificial intelligence’ drown all too often in the ocean of Big Data. This is particularly problematic if such systems are used in the public sector in democracies, where the rule of law applies, and where accountability, as well as the possibility for judicial review, are guaranteed. In this article, we explore the role transparency could play in reconciling these opportunities and dilemmas. While some propose making the systems and data they use themselves transparent, we submit that an open and broad discussion on purpose and objectives should be held during the design process. This might be a more effective way of embedding ethical and legal principles in the technology, and of ensuring legitimacy during application.


Dr. Oskar J. Gstrein
Dr. O.J. Gstrein is universitair docent Governance & Innovation aan de Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, Campus Fryslân, Data Research Centre.

Prof. dr. Andrej Zwitter
Prof. dr. A.J. Zwitter is hoogleraar Governance & Innovation aan de Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, Campus Fryslân, Data Research Centre.
Vrij artikel

Duwtjes of druk?

De percepties van zorgprofessionals aangaande ‘nudging’ in ziekenhuizen

Tijdschrift Bestuurskunde, Aflevering 4 2020
Trefwoorden nudging, ethics, autonomy, healthcare, professionals
Auteurs Nienke Maria Huis in ’t Veld MSc, Rosanna Nagtegaal MSc en Prof. dr. Mirko Noordegraaf
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    ‘Nudging’ has been introduced as a policy and management tool as a way to influence behaviour without limiting choice. Nudging is mainly used to influence citizens’ behaviour but can also be used to influence the behavior of healthcare professionals. Examples include posters used to improve hand-hygiene compliance, or ‘default’ options in systems to reduce excessive prescriptions of specific medication. However, using nudges raises major worries and ethical issues, also in relation to the independence of healthcare professionals. While the scientific discussion about the desirability of nudges is extensive, the voices of healthcare professionals, who are the subjects of nudges, remain unheard. In this qualitative research we explore the perceptions of nudging held by various healthcare professionals. The interviews reveal that healthcare professionals are generally unfamiliar with the concept of nudging, but they do recognize nudges in their own field of practice. Furthermore, while they are predominantly positive about nudging, they also express concerns about the pressure on their autonomy. These concerns are related to changing professionalism and regulatory pressures in healthcare.


Nienke Maria Huis in ’t Veld MSc
N.M. Huis in ’t Veld, MSc is alumna aan de Universiteit Utrecht, departement Bestuurs- en Organisatiewetenschap.

Rosanna Nagtegaal MSc
R. Nagtegaal, MSc is promovenda aan de Universiteit Utrecht, departement Bestuurs- en Organisatiewetenschap.

Prof. dr. Mirko Noordegraaf
Prof. dr. M. Noordegraaf is hoogleraar Publiek Management aan de Universiteit Utrecht, departement Bestuurs- en Organisatiewetenschap.
Artikel

Access_open Inzet op omgevingsbewust en kwaliteitsbewust werken in beleidsonderzoek

Illustraties uit de lerende evaluatie van het Natuurpact van het Planbureau voor de Leefomgeving

Tijdschrift Beleidsonderzoek Online, november 2020
Auteurs Eva Kunseler, Lisa Verwoerd en Femke Verwest
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Een reflexieve kijk op beleidsonderzoek gaat uit van continue dynamiek tussen kennisontwikkeling en beleids- en uitvoeringspraktijken. Beleidsonderzoekers zoeken naar houvast om gedegen en relevant onderzoek te blijven doen, onderwijl inspelend op onzekerheden, onvoorspelbaarheid en kritische geluiden die kenmerkend zijn voor de huidige kennissamenleving. Via omgevingsbewust werken kunnen zij hun onderzoeksaanpak leren afstemmen op de kenmerken en maatschappelijke context van beleidsdossiers. Via kwaliteitsbewust werken kunnen zij leren inspelen op de verwachtingen rondom een bepaalde expertrol en onderzoeksaanpak binnen de eigen contexten van onafhankelijkheid en wetenschappelijke verantwoording.
    Aan de hand van een casus – de lerende evaluatie van het Natuurpact, een innovatieve evaluatiestudie bij het Planbureau voor de Leefomgeving – laten we zien hoe een reflexieve aanpak helpt om onderzoek in de nabijheid van de dynamische beleidspraktijk uit te voeren. Doordat deze aanpak buiten de comfortzone van onderzoekers ligt, is omgevingsbewust en kwaliteitsbewust werken voor onderzoekers geen vanzelfsprekendheid. We roepen beleidsonderzoekers zelf, de organisaties waar ze werkzaam zijn en beleidsmedewerkers op om hun reflexieve vaardigheden verder te ontwikkelen via het inrichten van lerende processen, effectieve kennisdeling via Communities of Practice en leerwerktrajecten, en open en adaptieve kennis-beleidsarrangementen.


Eva Kunseler
Eva Kunseler is wetenschappelijk medewerker bij het Planbureau voor de Leefomgeving.

Lisa Verwoerd
Lisa Verwoerd is wetenschappelijk medewerker bij het Planbureau voor de Leefomgeving en onderzoeker bij het Athena Instituut, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

Femke Verwest
Femke Verwest is plaatsvervangend sectorhoofd Natuur en Landelijk Gebied bij het Planbureau voor de Leefomgeving.
Article

Political Sophistication and Populist Party Support

The Case of PTB-PVDA and VB in the 2019 Belgian Elections

Tijdschrift Politics of the Low Countries, Aflevering 3 2020
Trefwoorden populist voters, political sophistication, voting motivations, Belgium, elections
Auteurs Marta Gallina, Pierre Baudewyns en Jonas Lefevere
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    In this article, we investigate the moderating role of political sophistication on the vote for populist parties in Belgium. Building on the literature about the diverse determinants of populist party support, we investigate whether issue considerations and populism-related motivations play a bigger role in the electoral calculus of politically sophisticated voters.
    Using data from the 2019 general elections in Belgium, we focus on the cases of Vlaams Belang (VB) and Parti du Travail de Belgique- Partij van de Arbeid (PTB-PVDA). We find evidence suggesting that political sophistication enhances the impact of populism-related motivations on populist party support, although the effects are contingent on the party. Moreover, we show that, for issue considerations, the moderation effect only comes into play for VB voters: the impact of anti-immigrant considerations is greater at increasing levels of political sophistication.


Marta Gallina
Marta Gallina is a PhD Student at the Université catholique de Louvain, Belgium. She obtained her BA and MA in Social Sciences at the University of Milan. Her research interests regard the study of political behaviour, political sophistication, issue dimensionality, populism and Voting Advice Applications. Her work appeared in scientific journals such as Statistics, Politics and Policy, Environmental Politics and Italian Political Science.

Pierre Baudewyns
Pierre Baudewyns is Professor of political behaviour at UCLouvain. He is involved in different projects (voters, candidates) related to National Election Study. Results of his research have been published in Electoral Studies, European Political Science, Regional & Federal Studies, West European Politics and Comparative European Politics.

Jonas Lefevere
Jonas Lefevere is research professor of political communication at the Institute for European Studies and assistant professor of communication at Vesalius College. Since 2018, he is also vice-chair of the ECPR Standing Group on Political Communication. His research interests deal with the communication strategies of political parties, and the effects of election campaigns on voters’ electoral behaviour. He has published on these topics in, amongst others, Electoral Studies, Public Opinion Quarterly, Political Communication and International Journal of Public Opinion Research.
Article

Drivers of Support for the Populist Radical Left and Populist Radical Right in Belgium

An Analysis of the VB and the PVDA-PTB Vote at the 2019 Elections

Tijdschrift Politics of the Low Countries, Aflevering 3 2020
Trefwoorden populism, voting, behaviour, Belgium, elections
Auteurs Ine Goovaerts, Anna Kern, Emilie van Haute e.a.
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    This study investigates how protest attitudes and ideological considerations affected the 2019 election results in Belgium, and particularly the vote for the radical right-wing populist party Vlaams Belang (VB) and for the radical left-wing populist party Partij van de Arbeid-Parti du Travail de Belgique (PVDA-PTB). Our results confirm that both protest attitudes and ideological considerations play a role to distinguish radical populist voters from mainstream party voters in general. However, when opposed to their second-best choice, we show that particularly protest attitudes matter. Moreover, in comparing radical right- and left-wing populist voters, the article disentangles the respective weight of these drivers on the two ends of the political spectrum. Being able to portray itself as an alternative to mainstream can give these parties an edge among a certain category of voters, albeit this position is also difficult to hold in the long run.


Ine Goovaerts
Ine Goovaerts is a Doctoral Candidate of the Democratic Innovations and Legitimacy Research Group at the University of Leuven. Her research focuses on the quality of political discourse, with a specific focus on incivility and argumentation quality.

Anna Kern
Anna Kern is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Political Science of Ghent University. Her research focuses on political participation, political equality and political legitimacy. Her work has been published in journals such as West European Politics, Local Government Studies, Social Science Research and Political Behavior.

Emilie van Haute
Emilie van Haute is Chair of the Department of Political Science at the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB) and researcher at the Centre d’étude de la vie politique (Cevipol). Her research interests focus on party membership, intra-party dynamics, elections and voting behaviour. Her research has appeared in West European Politics, Party Politics, Electoral Studies, Political Studies, European Political Science and Acta Politica. She is co-editor of Acta Politica.

Sofie Marien
Sofie Marien is Associate Professor at the University of Leuven, where she is director of the Democratic Innovations and Legitimacy Research Group. Her research has appeared in journals such as Political Behavior, European Journal of Political Research, European Sociological Review and Political Research Quarterly.
Article

Access_open Voters of Populist Parties and Support for Reforms of Representative Democracy in Belgium

Tijdschrift Politics of the Low Countries, Aflevering 3 2020
Trefwoorden Belgian politics, democratic reforms, elections, populist voters, representative democracy
Auteurs Lisa van Dijk, Thomas Legein, Jean-Benoit Pilet e.a.
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Recently, studies have burgeoned on the link between populism and demands for democratic reforms. In particular, scholars have been debating the link between populist citizens or voters and support for referendums. In this article, we examine voters of populist parties (Vlaams Belang (VB) and Parti du Travail de Belgique-Partij van de Arbeid (PTB-PVDA)) in Belgium in 2019 and we look at their attitudes towards various types of democratic reforms. We find that voters of populist parties differ from the non-populist electorate in their support for different kinds of reforms of representative democracy. Voters of VB and PTB-PVDA have in common stronger demands for limiting politicians’ prerogatives, for introducing binding referendums and for participatory budgeting. While Vlaams Belang voters are not significantly different from the non-populist electorate on advisory referendums, citizens’ forums or technocratic reform, PVDA-PTB voters seem more enthusiastic.


Lisa van Dijk
Lisa van Dijk (corresponding author), KU Leuven.

Thomas Legein
Thomas Legein, Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB).

Jean-Benoit Pilet
Jean-Benoit Pilet, Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB).

Sofie Marien
Sofie Marien, KU Leuven.
Article

Emotions and Vote Choice

An Analysis of the 2019 Belgian Elections

Tijdschrift Politics of the Low Countries, Aflevering 3 2020
Trefwoorden Belgium, elections, emotions, voting behaviour
Auteurs Caroline Close en Emilie van Haute
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    This article digs into the relationship between voters’ political resentment and their electoral choice in 2019 by focusing on the respondents’ emotions towards politics. Using the RepResent 2019 voter survey, eight emotions are analysed in their relation to voting behaviour: four negative (anger, bitterness, worry and fear) and four positive (hope, relief, joy and satisfaction). We confirm that voters’ emotional register is at least two-dimensional, with one positive and one negative dimension, opening the possibility for different combinations of emotions towards politics. We also find different emotional patterns across party choices, and more crucially, we uncover a significant effect of emotions (especially negative ones) on vote choice, even when controlling for other determinants. Finally, we look at the effect of election results on emotions and we observe a potential winner vs. loser effect with distinctive dynamics in Flanders and in Wallonia.


Caroline Close
Caroline Close is Assistant Professor at the Université libre de Bruxelles (Charleroi campus). Her research and teaching interests include party politics, representation and political participation from a comparative perspective. She has published her work in Party Politics, Political Studies, Parliamentary Affairs, The Journal of Legislative Studies, Representation, Acta Politica and the Journal of European Integration. She regularly contributes to research and publications on Belgian politics.

Emilie van Haute
Emilie van Haute is Chair of the Department of Political Science at the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB) and researcher at the Centre d’étude de la vie politique (Cevipol). Her research interests focus on party membership, intra-party dynamics, elections, and voting behaviour. Her research has appeared in West European Politics, Party Politics, Electoral Studies, Political Studies, European Political Science and Acta Politica. She is co-editor of Acta Politica.
Artikel

Digitaal leiderschap

Verkenning van de veranderende rol van gemeentesecretarissen in de informatiesamenleving

Tijdschrift Bestuurs­wetenschappen, Aflevering 4 2020
Auteurs Dr. Martiene Branderhorst
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Rapid technological change and the information society have consequences for the role and duties of municipal clerks. To increase understanding of the implications of digital technologies for the role of municipal clerk (town clerk), this article presents an exploration of the ‘digital leadership’ of municipal clerks, i.e. leadership that suits a time when digital technologies are growing explosively. By using the four leadership perspectives of Bolman and Deal and the public value thinking of Moore, it was investigated which leadership themes are mentioned in the literature. In this way, this article aims to contribute to the leadership role of the municipal clerk so that he gives shape and direction to the organization from a vision on this change task and leads this transition instead of seeing it as a collection of smart gadgets or an issue concerning the IT department. This means that he will have to be aware of technological developments, can think critically about their significance and acquire the necessary knowledge and skills to be able to lead the municipal organization in the information society. This article shows practitioners that: (a) municipal clerks play an important role when it comes to the structure of the municipal organization in the information society; (b) the way in which municipalities innovate digitally has an impact on society and people’s lives; and (c) it is therefore important to shape the leadership of municipal clerks based on public values in order to realize legitimate applications of digital technologies with added social value.


Dr. Martiene Branderhorst
Dr. E.M. Branderhorst is gemeentesecretaris en algemeen directeur in de gemeente Gouda en lid van de Raad voor het openbaar bestuur (Rob).

    While authorities sometimes make it appear that the coronavirus outbreak in the first half of 2020 did not allow for policies other than those in place, we saw remarkable variations in policy approaches in Western Europe. Governments almost everywhere pushed for ‘social distancing’, but differences in wording and communication, and implementation and enforcement emerged that could not be entirely explained by differences in the manifestation of the coronavirus. In order to understand and explain such differences, this article points out the institutional filter that exists between the corona threat and policy action. The interaction between two central components of the institutional filter – national culture and state tradition – is elaborated in this article for six Western European countries in particular: the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom, on the one hand, and Belgium, France and Italy, on the one hand. Policy action in these countries is largely consistent with what could be expected given the combinations of national culture and state tradition in these countries. The institutional filter forms a comprehensive framework with which more specific explanations from social trust or manifest public leadership can be placed.


Prof. dr. Frank Hendriks
Prof. dr. F. Hendriks is hoogleraar bestuurskunde aan de Tilburgse School voor Politiek en Bestuur van de Universiteit van Tilburg.
Artikel

Kleine teksten, grootse verwachtingen

De toename van eisen aan bestuurders in non-profitorganisaties

Tijdschrift Bestuurs­wetenschappen, Aflevering 4 2020
Auteurs Dr. Morris Oosterling en Prof. dr. Theo Camps
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Changes in views on the management of non-profit organizations have implications for the role expected of administrators. This also has an important influence on the requirements placed on these administrators. In the Dutch context, it has not previously been investigated whether and how the requirements for administrators change, and to what extent this occurs in conjunction with changes in the views on the management of non-profit organizations. This is central to this study. By means of a content analysis, in which 363 recruitment texts from the period 1980-2010 were analyzed, the authors show that more and more divergent demands are made on administrators in non-profit organizations. With our study we also show that this accumulation is closely related to views on management. Regulators are advised to focus on optimizing requirements, rather than maximizing them. This allows for more targeted and more adequate recruitment. The study also shows that accountability has not previously been a specific requirement in recruitment texts, whereas this is desirable in the light of previous incidents. Our recommendation to supervisors is to pay more specific attention to this when drawing up job profiles. The relevance for practitioners is (a) that the study provides insight into the relationship between views on the management of non-profit organizations and the demands placed on directors by supervisors; (b) this also clarifies that there are or may be blind spots, as becomes clear with regard to accountability requirements; and finally (c) our study provides food for thought about the role of recruitment texts in the selection process, and whether the requirements set are really relevant to the organization.


Dr. Morris Oosterling
Dr. M. Oosterling is onderzoeker, adviseur en coach bij Aizen Wetenschap in Bedrijf en adviseur werving, selectie en onderwijs bij BeteoR, Mens en Organisatie. Hij promoveerde in juli 2019 in Tilburg op het proefschrift Op zoek naar leiderschap. De top in non-profit organisaties bezien vanuit selectie.

Prof. dr. Theo Camps
Prof. dr. T.W.A. Camps is geassocieerd consultant bij de Berenschot Groep BV en hoogleraar Organisatiekunde en Bestuurskunde aan de TIAS School for Business and Society.
Thema-artikel

Niet toegeven maar teruggeven bij protest

Effecten van beleid bij vestiging van een asielzoekerscentrum in Utrecht

Tijdschrift Bestuurskunde, Aflevering 3 2020
Trefwoorden asylum seeker centres, local opposition, policy effects, inter-group contact, Utrecht
Auteurs Dr. Rianne Dekker, Dr. Karin Geuijen en Dr. Caroline Oliver
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    The refugee crisis of 2015-2016 prompted European governments to quickly institute new asylum seeker centres. Often however, plans for opening new reception centres are met with protest in surrounding localities. Gaining public support for new ASCs has become a pressing governance issue facing local governments. This research looks at whether a policy strategy of ‘giving back’ to the neighbourhood rather than ‘giving in’ to the demands of protesters can minimise local opposition and alleviate negative attitudes . A door-to-door survey of N = 511 neighbourhood residents is combined with semi-structured interview data of N = 31 neighbourhood residents. We find that attitudes were already neutral to fairly positive shortly after the centre opened and fears of nuisance and crime did not materialise. Those who became involved in the ASCs’ courses and activities are a small and selective group who were already fairly accepting of the centre. Contact between asylum seekers and neighbours developing within and beyond the ASC was valued but did not develop into stronger ties due to frequent moves of asylum seekers and early closure of the ASC.


Dr. Rianne Dekker
Dr. R. Dekker is universitair docent en onderzoeker bij het departement Bestuurs- en Organisatiewetenschap van de Universiteit Utrecht. Zij doet onderzoek naar de invloed van nieuwe media in verschillende beleidsterreinen waaronder integratie en veiligheid.

Dr. Karin Geuijen
Dr. K. Geuijen is universitair docent en onderzoeker bij het departement Bestuurs- en Organisatiewetenschap van de Universiteit Utrecht. Zij doet onderzoek naar multi-sector en multi-level governance, voornamelijk op het terrein van asielmigratie.

Dr. Caroline Oliver
Dr. C. Oliver is universitair hoofddocent aan het Institute of Education van University College London. Zij doet onderzoek naar de gevolgen van migratiebeleid en instituties voor sociale rechtvaardigheid.
Vrij artikel

Verantwoorden met gevoel

Taalkundige analyse van de impact van verantwoordingsrapporten in het openbaar bestuur

Tijdschrift Bestuurskunde, Aflevering 3 2020
Auteurs Prof. dr. Thomas Schillemans en Marija Aleksovska Msc
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    This paper analyzes the impact of linguistic characteristics of accountability reports on public sector organizations. It does so by analysing hundreds of accountability reports by four public sector bodies using the linguistic tool LIWC. The research question is: what linguistic characteristics of accountability reports are related to a bigger impact on the evaluated organization? The impact of three strategic choices is assessed. First of all, the impact of strategic positioning. Authors of texts can maintain a position of power in the choice of language (high clout) and speak top down to the recipient or they can take a more egalitarian, face to face, position. Secondly, authors can choose to use many complex linguistic phrasings, with causal reasoning for instance, or they can opt for simpler texts. Finally, the text can be littered with emotional, positive and negative, wordings or can be set in a neutral tone. Our analyses suggest that more emotional accountability reports are consistently related to a better reception and seem to have more impact. This has important consequences both theoretically and practically, which are discussed in the paper.


Prof. dr. Thomas Schillemans
Prof. dr. T. Schillemans is hoogleraar Bestuur en beleid aan de Universiteit Utrecht, Departement Bestuurs- en Organisatiewetenschap. Daarnaast is hij als co-decaan verbonden aan de Nederlandse School voor Openbaar Bestuur.

Marija Aleksovska Msc
M. Aleksovska, Msc is promovenda aan de Universiteit Utrecht, Departement Bestuurs- en Organisatiewetenschap.
Article

Getting Party Activists on Local Lists

How Dutch Local Party Branches Perform Their Recruitment Function

Tijdschrift Politics of the Low Countries, Aflevering 2 2020
Trefwoorden municipal politics, political parties, candidate lists, local party branches, recruitment
Auteurs Simon Otjes, Marcel Boogers en Gerrit Voerman
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    This article examines what explains the performance of Dutch local party branches in the recruitment of candidates for municipal councils. Fielding a list of candidates is the most basic function of political parties. In the Netherlands, party branches are under pressure from the low number of party members. To analyse how branches fulfil their role in recruitment, we employ our own survey of the secretaries of party branches held in the run-up to the 2018 municipal election. We find that party membership drives the successful fulfilment of the recruitment function but that, more than the absolute number of members, the crucial factors are how these party members cooperate, the number of active members and the development of this number.


Simon Otjes
Simon Otjes is Assistant Professor of Dutch Politics at Leiden University and researcher at the Documentation Centre Dutch Political Parties of Groningen University. His research focuses on political parties, parliaments and public opinion. His articles have appeared in the American Journal of Political Science and in the European Journal of Political Research, among others.

Marcel Boogers
Marcel Boogers is Professor of Innovation and Regional governance at Twente University. His research focuses on the structure of and dynamics within networks of local and regional governments. Boogers combines his position at Twente University with a position as senior advisor at consultancy firm BMC.

Gerrit Voerman
Gerrit Voerman is Professor of the Development and Function of the Dutch and European Party System at Groningen University and Director of its Centre Dutch Political Parties. His research focuses on political parties, their history and their organisation. He is editor of a long-running series of books on Dutch political parties.
Article

Access_open The Feminisation of Belgian Local Party Politics

Tijdschrift Politics of the Low Countries, Aflevering 2 2020
Trefwoorden local politics, local party branches, local elections, gender quotas, Belgium
Auteurs Robin Devroe, Silvia Erzeel en Petra Meier
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    This article investigates the feminisation of local politics. Starting from the observation that the representation of women in local electoral politics lags behind the regional and federal level, and taking into account the relevance of local party branches in the recruitment and selection of candidates for elections, we examine the extent to which there is an ‘internal’ feminisation of local party branches and how this links to the ‘external’ feminisation of local electoral politics. Based on surveys among local party chairs, the article maps patterns of feminisation over time and across parties, investigates problems local branches encounter in the recruitment of candidates for local elections, and analyses the (attitudes towards the) measures taken to further the integration of women in local electoral politics. We conclude that internal and external feminisation do not always go hand in hand and that local politics continues to be a male-dominated political biotope.


Robin Devroe
Robin Devroe is a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Political Sciences of Ghent University and member of the research group GASPAR. Her main research interest is the study of the political representation of diverse social groups and voting behaviour, with a specific focus on the descriptive representation of women, and she has a fascination for experimental methods. Her doctoral work (2019, Ghent University) focused on the prevalence of political gender stereotypes among Flemish voters. In the past, Robin was a visiting scholar at Texas A&M University (2018, US). Since 2020, she has been co-convenor of the European Consortium for Political Research’s (ECPR’s) Group on Gender and Politics.

Silvia Erzeel
Silvia Erzeel is Assistant Professor at the Department of Political Science, Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Her research interests include party politics, political representation, gender and intersectionality, and comparative politics. Her current research focuses on three main areas: the integration of gender equality in political parties, intersectionality and political representation in Europe, and the consequences of economic and social inequality for representative democracy. Since 2018, she has been co-convenor of the European Consortium for Political Research’s (ECPR’s) Standing Group on Gender and Politics.

Petra Meier
Petra Meier is Professor of Politics at the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Antwerp. Her research focuses on the (re)presentation of gender+ in politics and policies. Late work focused on the conceptualisation of symbolic representation, how it operates and the issues at stake from an inclusive perspective. Recently, she turned to study democratic deficits in federal systems, especially Belgium, and processes of de-democratisation in general. She is particularly interested in understanding how such processes affect the demos, more particularly from a gender, an LGBTQI or an ethnic perspective, and what dynamics of marginalisation and exclusion they generate.
Article

Introduction: Parties at the Grassroots

Local Party Branches in the Low Countries

Tijdschrift Politics of the Low Countries, Aflevering 2 2020
Auteurs Bram Wauters, Simon Otjes en Emilie van Haute
Auteursinformatie

Bram Wauters
Bram Wauters is Associate Professor in the Department of Political Sciences of Ghent University, where he leads the research group GASPAR. His research interests include political representation, elections and political parties, with specific attention for diversity. He has recently published on these topics in journals such as Party Politics, Political Studies, Politics & Gender and Political Research Quarterly. He is co-editor (with Knut Heidar) of ‘Do parties still represent?’ (Routledge, 2019).

Simon Otjes
Simon Otjes is Assistant Professor of Dutch Politics at Leiden University and researcher at the Documentation Centre Dutch Political Parties of Groningen University. His research focuses on political parties, parliaments and public opinion. His research has appeared in various journals, including American Journal of Political Science and European Journal of Political Research.

Emilie van Haute
Emilie van Haute is Chair of the Department of Political Science at the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB) and researcher at the Centre d’étude de la vie politique (Cevipol). Her research interests focus on party membership, intra-party dynamics, elections and voting behaviour. Her research has appeared in West European Politics, Party Politics, Electoral Studies, Political Studies or European Political Science. She is co-editor of Acta Politica.
Article

Between Party Democracy and Citizen Democracy

Explaining Attitudes of Flemish Local Chairs Towards Democratic Innovations

Tijdschrift Politics of the Low Countries, Aflevering 2 2020
Trefwoorden democratic innovations, citizen participation, local politics, Flanders, Belgium
Auteurs Didier Caluwaerts, Anna Kern, Min Reuchamps e.a.
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    As a response to the perceived legitimacy crisis that threatens modern democracies, local government has increasingly become a laboratory for democratic renewal and citizen participation. This article studies whether and why local party chairs support democratic innovations fostering more citizen participation. More specifically, we analyse the relative weight of ideas, interests and institutions in explaining their support for citizen-centred democracy. Based on the Belgian Local Chairs Survey in 2018 (albeit restricting our analysis to Flanders), the central finding is that ideas matter more than interests and institutions. Ideology is alive and kicking with regard to democratic innovation, with socialist and ecologist parties and populist parties being most supportive of participatory arrangements. By contrast, interests and institutions play, at this stage, a minor role in explaining support for participatory innovations.


Didier Caluwaerts
Didier Caluwaerts is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. His research and teaching deal with Belgian and comparative politics and democratic governance in deeply divided societies. His work has been published in various journals, including European Political Science Review, West European Politics, the Journal of Legislative Studies and Acta Politica.

Anna Kern
Anna Kern is Assistant Professor at research group GASPAR at the Department of Political Science of Ghent University. Her main research interests include political participation, political equality and political legitimacy. Her work has been published in international peer-reviewed journals such as West European Politics, Local Government Studies, Social Science Research and Political Behavior.

Min Reuchamps
Min Reuchamps is Professor of Political science at the Université catholique de Louvain (UCLouvain). His teaching and research interests are federalism and multilevel governance, democracy and its different dimensions, relations between language(s) and politics and, in particular, the role of metaphors, as well as participatory and deliberative methods.

Tony Valcke
Tony Valcke is Associate Professor at the Faculty of Political and Social Sciences of Ghent University. He is a member of the Centre for Local Politics (CLP) and coordinator of the Teacher Training Department. His research, publications and educational activities focus on elections and democratic participation/innovation, citizenship (education), (the history of) political institutions and (local) government reform, political elites and leadership.
Article

Like Mother, Like Daughter?

Linkage Between Local Branches and Their National Party Headquarters in Belgium

Tijdschrift Politics of the Low Countries, Aflevering 2 2020
Trefwoorden local branches, national party headquarters, linkage, integration, multilevel parties
Auteurs Kristof Steyvers
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    This article scrutinises local-national linkage in Belgium to better understand territorial power relations in multilevel parties. Drawing on a survey of local chairs of national parties, it adopts an innovative, informal and bottom-up approach. The descriptive analysis reveals two central axes in the morphology of linkage: scope (downward support and upward influence) and surplus (benefits versus costs). However, (the valuation of) this interdependence appears as a matter of degree. The explanatory analysis therefore probes into the effect of macro- (between environments), meso- (between parties) and micro- (within parties) level factors. It demonstrates that variance is explained by different parameters. For scope, differences between parties trump those within them. For surplus, specific differences between parties as well as within them matter. The answer to our guiding question is therefore variegated: it depends on for what and for whom.


Kristof Steyvers
Kristof Steyvers is Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science of Ghent University (Belgium). His research is conducted in the Centre for Local Politics, where he focuses on topics such as local political leadership, parties and elections at the local level, local government in multilevel governance and local government reforms (often from a comparative perspective).
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