It’s About Time! Temporal Dynamics and Longitudinal Research Designs in Public Administration
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionPublic Administration Review. 2023, 83 (6), 1727-1736. https://doi.org/10.1111/puar.13758
Many of the fundamental research questions in public administration relate to individual- or organization-level temporal dynamics, including the impact of public sector reforms, (in)stability of public policies and organizations, development of public service motivation, or the workplace socialization of public employees. However, theoretical, methodological, and empirical public administration scholarship continues to take time and temporal dynamics insufficiently seriously. This constitutes a major shortcoming within the profession and implies that we are yet to unlock the transformative potential of longitudinal research. Building on the recent development of novel research infrastructures that can support the study of temporal dynamics of—and within—public organizations, this Symposium pushes for a “longitudinal turn” in the study of public administration. We maintain that more concerted efforts to apply a temporal lens to our research endeavors are critical to theorize, empirically assess, and understand public administrations as well as the bureaucrats employed within them.