Ongoing projects

Policy Research Centre on Governance innovation 2021-2025 (SBV) 01/01/2021 - 31/12/2025

Abstract

The Policy Research Centre on Governance innovation supports the Flemish Government with academic an policy relevant advice on public administration. The Centre is a collaboration of the Universities of Ghent, Hasselt, Leuven and Antwerp. Research projects in Antwerp deal with local governance capacity, local personnel statute, and organisation of the Flemish government.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Advice on the harmonisation of employment conditions in the Flemish Government. 16/12/2020 - 15/12/2024

Abstract

With this framework agreement, the Public Servants Agency aims to be able to call on guidance and legal or strategic advice, when necessary, in connection with the following five tracks: legal position, career and remuneration policy, sickness regulation, pensions and dismissal.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Stakeholder involvement as legitimation strategy: an illustration of EU financial agencies. 01/05/2020 - 30/04/2021

Abstract

This SEP-grant constitutes an additional year of the PhD-trajectory of Bas Redert. It is subsequent to a three year EU grant in the framework of the Innovative Training Network PLATO on the Post-crisis Legitimacy of the European Union. The grant has four significant benefits to the research already conducted by PhD-researcher Bas Redert and to future academic endeavors at the University of Antwerp. First, the prolongation of the PhD-trajectory makes it possible to analyze the topic at hand in more depth. Also, it means that previous research can be extended, and novel methodologies can be applied to the study of EU interest groups. As a result, the SEP-grant opens new (methodological) avenues for research in this specific field. Besides, the grant also serves to make the PhD-dissertation more coherent and well-rounded. Second, and related to this, the prolongation makes it possible to publish various articles in top-journals. During the three year ITN-scholarship, a single-authored article in the highly ranked Journal of Common Market Studies has been accepted for publication, and a co-authored book chapter in an edited volume (edited by Chris Lord, Dirk De Bièvre, Ramses Wessels and Peter Bursens) is awaited to be published by ECPR Press. The SEP-grant will provide time to prepare and submit other articles for publication in top journals. Third, the SEP grant makes it possible to write an FWO junior postdoctoral grant proposal. As the timeframe of a three-year PhD-trajectory is extremely tight, it would have been difficult to write an up-to-par FWO proposal. Receiving the SEP grant provides the time needed to prepare and submit an outstanding post-doc proposal for the Politics and Public Governance research group at the University of Antwerp. The proposal will be submitted for the call of December 2020 and would be awarded in June 2021. Fourth, the additional year of funding will be used to write and submit grant and research project proposals together with my current supervisors and other UAntwerp faculty. Recently, the Politics and Public Governance research group became part of one the Centres of Excellence with a focus on 'Trust and Distrust in Multi-level Governance'. GOVTRUST will perform cutting-edge and cross-disciplinary research at international frontier domains. Research expertise on stakeholder involvement in relation to EU legitimacy and legitimation strategies fits perfectly within the aims and scopes of the Centre. Hence, close cooperation with the Centre of Excellence will be highly stimulating and beneficial for both sides. More specifically, GOVTRUST will provide the context to apply for larger scale collaborative European research programs. Indeed, prolongation generates benefits for the University of Antwerp as it allows for submitting grant proposals to be executed in Antwerp. In short, the SEP grant makes it possible to stimulate ongoing research endeavors and creates lasting initiatives for new research at the university.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Trust and distrust in multi-level governance: causes, dynamics, and effects (GOVTRUST). 01/01/2020 - 31/12/2025

Abstract

Contemporary governance of society is complex, as public authorities at different levels of government (EU, national, subnational) cooperate with non-state actors in multi-layered decision-making arenas when designing and implementing regulation. This complexity of governance is reflected in the concept of 'multi-level governance'. For a multi-level governance system to perform well, trust is a fundamental condition. While a certain degree of organised distrust between actors may be functional, the recurring reports of declining trust between citizens, private sector organizations, and public authorities at different governmental levels raise severe challenges for society. When trust declines, cooperation between citizens, private organizations, and government, but also between public authorities at the different levels of government is compromised. And without cooperation, effective governance is not possible. However, scientific knowledge about the dynamics, causes and effect of trust and distrust in multilevel governance is underdeveloped. Encompassing research teams from political science and public administration, law, communication sciences and behavioural economics, the research excellence consortium GOVTRUST will study in an interdisciplinary way the dynamics, causes and effects of trust and distrust between the actors involved in multi-level governance. To that end, the consortium will apply mixed research designs with diverse research methodologies, including legal studies, large-N surveys, different kinds of experiments, content analysis, social network analysis as well as small-N controlled case comparisons. With its research program, collaborations and activities the consortium will contribute to scientific knowledge at an international level of excellence, while increasing the international reputation of the University of Antwerp and aiming for a substantial impact on the governance of society.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

The Executive Triangle: Politicians, Ministerial Advisors and Top Civil Servants 01/01/2020 - 31/12/2024

Abstract

Our scientific research network, known as the "The Executive Triangle", was informally established in 2015, initially comprising 12 senior academics with an interest in researching executive-level public administration from across Europe and the UK. We have since grown to include more than 26 senior researchers across Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand. Fortunately for Flanders, Professor Marleen Brans in the Public Governance Institute at KU Leuven, was a key founding partner of the network, a key researcher, and is a leading voice in the group. We have only just made early steps to formalise our network, by, among other things, coordinating specialist panels at international conferences, preparing joint grant applications, developing a research agenda, and plans to launch a website. If successful, the Scientific Research Network (WOG) grant will provide a timely contribution to strengthen the network and help our Flemish partners improve their scientific leadership and knowledge exchange. We aim to use grant funding for building scientific collaboration by organising workshops, symposia, specialist technical exchanges, and joint publications. Plus, we aim to submit joint research projects with international research bodies (such as the UK's Economic and Social Research Council, Research Council of Norway, German Research Foundation, and international/multi-lateral level opportunities like the successor of Horizon 2020, NORFACE, and Open Research Area), which, if successful, would provide Flemish researchers access to new comparative projects and publications. Our research questions focus on the impact of politicisation on policymaking and legitimacy across Europe. Building a research infrastructure to answer our research questions will be a major step beyond purely descriptive analyses towards understanding the consequences of politicisation. In a more nuanced sense, the Executive Triangle delves into the tension between political craft and professional competence; or in other words, tension between democracy and technocracy. Critically, the network could potentially lay the foundation for a major push forward in the comparative study of the apex of governments, which has only progressed incrementally since the early 1980s.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Trust in Governance and Regulation in Europe (TiGRE). 01/01/2020 - 30/06/2023

Abstract

TiGRE provides an encompassing and coherent analytical framework for the study of trust relationships in governance. It studies trust among actors of regulatory regimes, such as regulators, political, administrative and judicial bodies, the regulated industries, service providers and their interest organisations, consumers and other societal interests, as well as citizens at large. TiGRE opens thereby new research directions within the tradition of studies of trust relationships between citizens and public authorities. TiGRE's aim is to reveal the role of trust and distrust in European regulatory governance and the ways trust can be maintained, enhanced, repaired and nurtured via administrative practices and reforms. It takes a multilevel governance approach, which includes the EU level as well as the national and regional ones. Trust – both as a pre-condition and a consequence of well-functioning regulatory regimes – is a key factor to be considered in order to capture how these regimes are able to produce effective and legitimate governance. The in-depth investigation of the complex interplay between trust configurations and regulation in different regulatory regimes (finance, food safety, communication and data protection) across levels of governance and in several countries requires the joint effort of experts with wide-ranging experience. TiGRE is run by a tightly integrated multidisciplinary consortium of top-level scholars, who bring together a very broad range of theoretical, substantial, and methodological skills. A cutting-edge mixed-method approach is applied to provide a comprehensive understanding of such multi-faceted trust-related processes. To bridge research with policy and practice, TiGRE provides criteria, indicators and early warning mechanisms for detecting decreasing trust, and scenarios on consequences thereof. They will be validated through interaction with stakeholders and compared with evidence from outside the EU.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Digital revolution in Belgian Federal Government: an open governance ecosystem for big data, artificial intelligence, and blockchain (DIGI4FED). 15/12/2019 - 15/03/2022

Abstract

The potential and actual use of Big Data (BD) applications affects the theoretical and practical context of decision-making, learning and process optimisation in the public sector. DIGI4FED ​aims to develop a governance design that serves the internal administrative and public service processes of the Belgian federal government; a governance design that is embedded in the open governance ecosystem and makes full use of the potential offered by big data (BD) and its application via artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain technology (BCT​).

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Reputation and Structural Reforms of Public Organizations: Explaining Temporal Dynamics. 01/11/2019 - 31/10/2022

Abstract

This proposal studies the temporal dynamics between the reputation of public organizations and the structural reforms they experience. Public organizations perform important services in society. When performance of these organizations is perceived to be problematic, political and administrative actors are often urged to initiate structural reforms (e.g., reshuffling tasks between organizations, merging or changing the legal status of organizations). Therefore, reforms have symbolic value as signals to society that problems concerning public sector performance are being perceived and acted upon. However, no studies have examined on a large sample how the perceived performance of public organizations (i.e., their reputation) affects these organizations' chances for being reformed. Neither do we know how structural reforms in turn impact organizations' future reputations. This proposal addresses these gaps. The dynamics between reputation and reforms through time are studied on a diverse set of 60 Flemish public organizations. Specific attention goes to the moderating role of reputation management strategies of these organizations and to several organizational and environmental conditions. The proposal will benefit from the most recent developments in machine learning techniques to automatically collect data on the multiple facets of the reputation and reputation management of public organizations. Advanced statistical models allow to analyze the complex relations through time.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Jean Monnet Chair 'Skills in EU Studies' 01/09/2019 - 31/08/2022

Abstract

The main aim of the project is to strengthen teaching on the EU in political science programs. In addition, activities in all three additional categories will be deployed: serving other academic disciplines, supervising research on active learning and organizing teaching and other events for the general public and targeted groups such as secondary school pupils. The chair's academic teaching load is almost entirely focused on European Integration, yet very diverse in terms of content, teaching methods and curricula. The courses are mainly taught in English, organized by the department of Political Science and serve bachelor and master students in Political Science, Political Communication, and International Relations and Diplomacy. In addition, courses are offered in the Faculty of Sciences and the Antwerp Management School. The Jean Monnet support will enable to further develop the courses, in particular regarding skills teaching. The implementation of simulations and other skills teaching is increasingly underpinned by interdisciplinary research. The chair is senior member of the research group Politics and Public Governance (PPG). PPG studies political and public governance institutions, their evolution and how institutional mechanisms shape actors' scope of action, positions, decisions and behaviour, more in particular in a European multi-layered and multi-actor context. One research agenda to be further developed within PPG is the interdisciplinary track on assessing the impact of skills teaching on student's learning outcomes. Finally, the chair will organise EU related events through which a variety of audiences will be targeted.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Scientific chair 'Kenniscel Pensioenen'. 01/07/2019 - 30/06/2023

Abstract

The main objective of the Chair "Kenniscel Pensioenen" (Knowledge Centre Pensions) funded by the OFP Provant is to conduct research in the field of legal pensions and complementary pensions (the so-called first and second pillar pensions). In full academic independence and using scientifically substantiated methods the researchers edit research papers on issues regarding the funding and financial sustainability of legal pensions, the legal framework of complementary pension schemes for public sector employers, the amounts due to fiscal and social security regulations and the harmonisation of (complementary) pension schemes for personnel employed by local governments.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Using Twitter as a public communication strategy: Can 140 characters reduce the Performance-Satisfaction Gap in the public sector? 01/01/2019 - 31/12/2022

Abstract

Research project funded by the Flemish Research Fund: Customer satisfaction regarding public services is often only loosely coupled to changes in actual performance. This gap between satisfaction and performance may lead to misguided reforms and may erode trust in public services. Literature shows how the incapacity of customers to assess actual performance can be attributed to the bounded rationality of customers. We know less about how public communication influences this bounded decision making that underlies the performance-satisfaction gap. With the rise of social media, the communication channels for public sector organizations have grown extensively. Twitter has become the dominant medium since it allows public organizations to interact directly with large audiences and offer live updates on services. Twitter should be ideally suited to address the information problem and thus to mitigate the performance-satisfaction gap. Yet, studies to the potential benefits and effects of social media within a public sector context are lacking. This project therefore asks whether and how public communication by public service providers via Twitter reduces the performance satisfaction gap. Using a quasi-experimental pretest-posttest setup with advanced time series modelling, this project will bring new insights on what influences satisfaction of public services, the effect of public communication through social media as well as methodological innovation in the use of social media sources for Public Administration research.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Slow-healing wounds? How continuous structural reforms in the public sector reduce levels of job satisfaction and slow the recovery of job satisfaction in the long term. 01/01/2019 - 31/12/2022

Abstract

Research Project funded by the Flemish Research Fund: In the last decades, waves of structural reforms have been implemented in OECD countries to create more efficient public services, causing some organizations to have experienced severe and continuous trajectories of for instance mergers, splits and changes in legal form. While governments continuously impose structural reforms to improve public sector performance, we may simultaneously expect such continuous structural reforms to have detrimental side-effects, such as strong reductions in employee job satisfaction. Recognizing that continuous structural reforms have become a pervasive feature of modern public sectors, the research proposed here will innovatively investigate (a) the effect of extensive structural reform histories on post-reform levels of job satisfaction and (b) the impact of such reform histories on the long-term recuperation of job satisfaction levels following sequences of reforms. We utilize a combination of both large-N regression analysis and a small-N natural experiment. Both the large-N and small-N phases will utilize two measurement points, not only allowing us to assess the long-term development of job satisfaction, but also to improve causal inference. As job satisfaction has been linked with factors such as performance, turnover and even sick leave on the basis of single reform studies, but the long-term effects of continuous structural reforms remain unexplored, the project holds important implications for scholars and policy-makers.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Credit for the Libraries in Social Sciences and Humanities (Faculty of Social Sciences). 01/01/2019 - 31/12/2021

Abstract

This project represents a research contract awarded by the University of Antwerp. The supervisor provides the Antwerp University research mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions stipulated by the university.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Gender and sexuality as strategic tools in populist discourse. 01/10/2018 - 30/09/2022

Abstract

This project addresses the question how 'the people' and 'the others' are framed in populist strategies and what the effects thereof are. Specifically, we will analyse how these two groups are imbued with morality by instrumentalizing references to gender and sexuality, especially in the context of immigration. There is a consensus among populism scholars that populism involves a certain antagonistic scapegoating logic. In Northern Europe, immigration, especially by a Muslim population, is increasingly being framed as incompatible with gender and sexual equality. Consequently, far right parties now attract women and pro-LGBTIQ voters who are fearful of Islam. However, a comparative in depth analysis of this phenomenon does not exist, and even less so an analysis of the effects of this strategic framing. So as to better understand this at first sight strange marriage of a progressive gender and sexuality agenda pushed forward by populist actors, especially on the right, the project is divided into two major phases. The first phase seeks to answer how 'the people' and 'the others' are strategically framed and imbued with morality in the context of immigration, using references to gender and sexuality. For this phase we will rely on a Critical Frame Analysis of tweets. Contemporary populism scholars agree that populist politicians choose to use Twitter because it represents a platform for communication that is highly personal and bypasses other (fake) media. In short, it presents the ideal platform for populist strategies. Instead of selecting tweets only from specific parties or persons, we will analyse tweets by various political actors. Critical Frame Analysis is a qualitative method to analyse large amount of text data in a comparative way in order to detect underlying frames. Most importantly, as Critical Frame Analysis makes explicit the roles and underlying norms and values attributed to different actors, it enables us to answer how 'the people' and 'the others' are framed in the context of immigration; how gender and sexuality are used in this context; what differences in the strategic use of gender and sexuality can be found; and how to understand them. To be able to see whether these frames actually structure the meaning of reality and test what the frame differential effects are, a different methodology is required. The second phase of this research therefore deploys vignette studies to provide an empirical exploration of the differential effects of various populist frames. Studies have shown that small differences between frames may result in strong effects in attitudes and behaviour. By creating several different vignettes and randomly distributing these among a sample of population-based respondents, frame specific effects are reliably estimated. The data gathered in the first phase will be used to design vignettes. Even though vignette experiments are excellent for identifying causal relations and for mapping the effects of various frames on individuals, the methodology is not suited to determine whether effects will last. However, people are overloaded with populist strategies and are seldom exposed to them just once. Apart from theoretical difficulties and possible shortcomings of the experimental data in terms of extrapolation, the vignette studies are (logistically) quite straightforward to conduct. The project will focus on the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Germany. They have their own distinct history with gender and LGBTIQ emancipation, and adhere to markedly different immigration policies. Yet they have all witnessed the rise of the new right, and religion (especially Islam), equality, immigration and multiculturalism, tend to be linked up.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Transforming into Open, Innovative and Collaborative Governments (TROPICO). 01/06/2017 - 31/05/2021

Abstract

The Research Group on Public Administration and Management from the University of Antwerp is partner and work package leader in the H2020 funded project TROPICO (2017-2021). The international research project TROPICO (Transforming into Open, Innovative and Collaborative Governments) received funding over 4.7 mil Euro from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme to study digital transformation in the public sector. For UAntwerpen prof. Koen Verhoest is involved as well as one PhD researcher and one post-doc position. By comparing formal frameworks and individual bureaucrats' attitudes, it investigates the key drivers and barriers for better collaboration using information and communication technologies (ICT). Looking closer into key practices of ICT-enabled collaboration among governmental authorities but also between the state and users (citizen, companies or societal organisations etc.), TROPICO identifies key trends and crucial features making better collaboration work in practice. Finally, it assesses the effects of ICT-based collaboration for accountability and identifying responsibilities as well as red tape and governmental efficiency. The work package (2019-2020) led by the University of Antwerp (RG on Public Administration and Management – coordinator Prof. Koen Verhoest) studied how different kinds of partnerships between public and private actors lead to collaborative innovation in service delivery, and how citizens and users are involved in these collaborative processes. The project brings together an inter-disciplinary team of researchers in public administration, public management, political science, sociology, law, and digital engineering from 12 leading universities in 10 European countries. It runs from June 2017 to May 2021 and is coordinated by the University of Bergen. The 12 project partners are: University of Bergen (Norway), Universiteit Antwerpen (Belgium), Cardiff University (United Kingdom), Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (France), Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam (Netherlands), Hertie School of Governance (Germany), Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium), Central European University (Hungary), Roskilde Universitet (Denmark), Tallinna Tehnikaulikool (Estonia), Universidad de Zaragoza (Spain), and Universität Potsdam (Germany) Regular updates on the project are available online: www.tropico-project.eu and @tropico_project on Twitter.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

The influence of the multi-level environment and globalization on (autonomous) public sector organizations. 01/02/2012 - 31/01/2027

Abstract

Research professorship position funded by Special Research Fund BOF - UAntwerp Research Council: CentraI is the question how public sector organisations are steered and coordinated in a multi-Ievel environment (and how the control by different governmental levels interact with each other). Additionally, affiliated research issues are defined which focus on related issues of the influence of global crises, risks and reform ideas on governance, on multi-Ievel collaboration and regulation, and on national public administrations. The research plan aims at designing and testing refined explanatory modeis, drawing from different theoretical perspectives, by combining quantitative and qualitative methodological approaches.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Past projects

Constructive conflict in large infrastructure projects: Transcribing rich interview data from the Future Alliance – Oosterweel evaluation study. 01/04/2020 - 31/03/2021

Abstract

The domain of urban planning is filled with conflicts between citizens and policy-makers on how to organize the environment and the public values that should guide decision-making. Conflict is typically perceived as something negative to avoid through professional and effective process management. Recent studies, however, demonstrate that trying to avoid policy conflicts often does not work. Conflict does not disappear just because policy-makers steer clear from it. Avoiding conflict is not only difficult in practical terms, but also questionable from a normative viewpoint. While conflict undoubtedly has potentially destructive qualities (e.g. generating distrust), it may also be managed constructively to trigger creativity, engagement and transparency. Despite the abundance of real-world examples of conflict gone wrong, however, very little is known about how to get conflict right. The funding would allow the applicant to have recent interview data transcribed from an evaluation study of the Future Alliance ('Toekomstverbond' in Dutch) transcribed. The Future Alliance case concerns the de-escalation of the dramatic Oosterweel conflict in Antwerp, a context well studied within our Politics & Public Governance (PPG) research group. Being able to analyze these data on the de-escalation of the Oosterweel conflict in an academically sound way would move forward the academic scholarship on how policy conflicts can be managed effectively when it comes to de-escalation (in terms of institutional design, leadership etc.), while also contributing to insights on how to de-escalate policy conflicts while continuing to reap the benefits of constructive conflicts. The following research questions are addressed: (1) How can we understand, and what can we learn from, the role of constructive conflict in the de-escalation of the Oosterweel conflict through the Future Alliance framework? (2) What role did the institutional design of the Future Alliance (inter alia through the working communities) play in dealing with conflict effectively? In addressing these questions, the applicant will move forward the academic and practitioner understanding on policy conflicts, by making sense of the theoretical mechanism at play in in the de-escalation of policy conflict, a topic that has received less theoretical development than conflict escalation. The proposal presented here is aimed at acquiring the resources necessary to hire job-students that will assist in transcribing 64 hours of recorder interview material collected during an evaluation study earlier this year. The resulting dataset will provide rich data to be used for theoretical development and academic output. One contribution to a special issue in a top Public Administration journal is already in the pipeline, based on the data that will result from this proposal. This funding would also jumpstart the search for additional funding to continue my research interest in conflict management.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Too wrapped up? On the effects of red tape on collaborative innovation. 01/10/2018 - 30/09/2020

Abstract

Collaboration with external stakeholders such as businesses, non-profit organizations, interest groups and citizens continues to manifest itself as an important vehicle for public sector innovation. Red tape, or burdensome rules and procedures that negatively affect performance, is known as a crucial barrier to the effective functioning of public organisations (Bozeman, 1993). While research indicates that red tape hampers innovation as well as collaboration, red tape is rarely included in research into conditions for collaborative innovation specifically. It is still unclear through which mechanisms red tape affects collaborative innovation, and which aspects of collaborative innovation (such as the set-up of the collaboration, its sustainment, or its innovative success) are hindered by red tape. Therefore this project proposes a two phased-research. In the first explorative stage the complex dynamics between red tape and collaborative innovation are studied qualitatively and in depth in five comparative cases in the social policy sector. In the second stage the findings from the first stage are tested by conducting a survey among managers of the highest and second highest hierarchical level of 44 public organizations (departments and agencies). This survey is processed using multilevel regression analysis. This PhD scholarship from the Flemish Research Council is awarded to Charlotte Van Dijck (KULeuven), with Koen Verhoest (UAntwerpen) as co-promoter. In line with its focus on collaborative innovation, this application is a collaboration between KULeuven (promoter Trui Steen) and the Research Group on Politics & Public Governance, University of Antwerp (co-promoter Koen Verhoest). The financial resources are allocated to the main institution (KULeuven). The research is closely linked to the interuniversity project on public sector innovation through collaboration PSI-CO as coordinated by Koen Verhoest (UAntwerpen).

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

International polarization around LGBT rights in Europe – a case study of Czechia and Slovakia. 01/10/2018 - 30/09/2020

Abstract

The proposal deals with the current international clash around LGBT rights between liberal actors pushing for the rights of gay and transgender people and those promoting conservative anti-LGBT agenda. The promotion of LGBT rights has recently faced a severe backlash all over Europe, from West to East. Opposition to gender equality and sexual rights is not new, but it has dramatically increased in recent years. The opposition is indeed on the rise all over Europe, however, there are significant differences even between similar countries. Why it is so, why do LGBT rights spread to some countries successfully and they are strongly opposed in other states? The two case studies of the project, Czechia and Slovakia, are perfect cases for an analysis. The two successor states of the former federation, have common history and are geographically very close, but they are becoming more and more distant with regards to LGBT rights, the former being the most pro-LGBT country from the post-communist bloc, the latter joining many other Eastern European countries where the conservative agenda is on the rise. My overall question is what the specific domestic (socio-demographic factors, political context, LGBT/conservative movements, their strategies) and transnational (the role of the EU and LGBT network, and the role of Russia and conservative network) factors explaining different development regarding LGBT rights in the context of the current polarization around sexual rights are.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Institutional mechanisms for gender equality and gender mainstreaming. 01/09/2018 - 24/07/2019

Abstract

This project advices on examining the institutional mechanisms for gender mainstreaming in all member states of the European Union and the supranational level. It aims at contributing to improving the monitoring and evaluation tools for the examined institutional and to collect up-to-date information mechanisms. The overall project with the identifier EIGE/2018/OPER/02 is conducted by the Fondazione Giacomo Brodolini on behalf of the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE).

Researcher(s)

  • Promotor: Ahrens Petra

Research team(s)

Inspection for care 3.0 01/08/2018 - 28/02/2019

Abstract

This project is set up to do scientific research into context and changes in regulatory actors with inspection tasks (internationally and nationally). The research is done by Nick Thijs and Dr. Jan Boon.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Advice on the design parameters for a Flemish participatory budget 01/12/2017 - 28/02/2018

Abstract

Experience with participatory budgeting has mainly been local; i.e. in cities and municipalities. The Flemish government is considering to implement a participatory budget at the level of the region. This study investigates the design parameters for such a regional participatory budget.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Performance Indicators and methods for performance budgeting 20/11/2017 - 11/11/2018

Abstract

The use of perfomance indicators is an important challenge in performance budgeting. Data requirements and accountability issues have an impact on the formulation of meaningful indicators. The Flemish government has designed a system of performance budgeting, but seeks advice on how to use performance indicators. This study therefore looks into the possibilities and barriers of performance-informed budgeting.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Backseat drivers: How Regulatory Indicators are made. 01/10/2017 - 30/09/2019

Abstract

In recent decades, governments increasingly use regulatory indicators as a new tool of policy design. Like other policy tools, regulatory indicators aim to steer behavior of actors in the economy and in society. Yet, unlike traditional tools, they do so without the coercive or financial backing of the state apparatus. Regulatory indicators typically present themselves as a product of science (i.e. evidence-based), and the pressure they exert is mainly reputational. Examples of regulatory indicators are the educational rankings of the OECD, the credit ratings of public debt, and the governance indicators of the World Bank. The stress test of the European Banking Authority (EBA), the case study in this project, is an eminent case of a regulatory indicator. Despite their increasing importance, not much is known on how these regulatory indicators are made. Indicators are presented as objective facts and all agency involved in their development is stripped away. Notwithstanding the regulatory impact of choices in indicator design, the actors responsible for their production remain anonymous backseat drivers. This project addresses this gap with an in-depth case study of the development of the EBA stress test. The project conceives regulatory indicators as a being coproduced through both political and technocratic mechanisms.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Francqui Chair 2017-2018 Prof. Cas Mudde (ULg). 01/10/2017 - 30/09/2018

Abstract

Proposed by the University, the Francqui Foundation each year awards two Francqui Chairs at the UAntwerp. These are intended to enable the invitation of a professor from another Belgian University or from abroad for a series of ten lessons. The Francqui Foundation pays the fee for these ten lessons directly to the holder of a Francqui Chair.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Gender budgeting in the European Structural and Investment Funds: the need change towards gender equality. 18/09/2017 - 31/01/2018

Abstract

This country report for Germany examines gender mainstreaming and gender budgeting implementation in the European Structural and Investment funds (ESI funds) in the funding period 2014 – 2020. It also provides some general information on gender equality and gender mainstreaming in Germany. The report is part of the project Gender budgeting in the European Structural and Investment Funds EIGE/2017/OPER/03 (ESF and ERDF): the need change towards gender equality. In addition, it reflects Germany's experience with the European Standard for Gender Mainstreaming in the Structural Funds.

Researcher(s)

  • Promotor: Ahrens Petra

Research team(s)

MARIE SKŁODOWSKA-CURIE Individual Fellowship on Public Administration and Technology (PATECH - Veiko Lember) (UAntwerp as partner-organisation) 29/05/2017 - 28/05/2019

Abstract

This MSCA individual fellowship 'PATECH' is awarded to dr. Veiko Lember with KULeuven as main institution (G. Bouckaert as promoter) and UAntwerpen as partner organisation (Research Group on Politics & Public Governance - Koen Verhoest as host). The financial resources are fully allocated to the main institution - KULeuven. Digital technologies are in the centre of the ongoing industrial revolution that is bound to change not only markets, but also societies and governments. Central to these developments is the evolution of public sector technological capacities, that is, an ability of public organizations to explore, develop and/or adapt new technological solutions in public service design, delivery and evaluation. One of the central questions that has so far fallen in between different research strands is how technology affects the evolution of work organization and administrative capacities in public sector. In the context of increasing dependence on technological developments, and thus, related opportunities as well as uncertainties and risks, the conventional public administration accounts fall short in fully grasping the influence of technology on public sector change. The research objectives of the project are to: a) develop a coherent and novel conceptual framework on public sector technological capacities and provide novel and empirically grounded explanations on the co-evolutionary development mechanisms of public organizations and technology through comparative cross-country analysis. In order to map and understand different co-evolutionary patterns, the project will use a comparative approach by studying two different fields (with high and low/moderate level of technological complexity) in two different small states (in an advanced (Belgium) and less advanced (Estonia) socio-economic contexts).

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Upscaling network management skills in government - a development trajectory 03/04/2017 - 30/06/2018

Abstract

In this project together with Prof. Joris Voets (UGent), Koen Verhoest (UAntwerpen) and Astrid Molenveld (Erasmus University Rotterdam and UAntwerpen) jointly develop a trajectory to upscale network management skills in the Flemish government in order to improve the coordination of transversal and horizontal policy issues. This is done through a combination of knowledge transfer, cases, project-based working, intervision and foreign visits. Funded by the Flemish Government.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Towards a comprehensive database to explain the administrative development of the European Union. 01/04/2017 - 31/03/2018

Abstract

Over the years the European Union (EU) has developed from its humble origins as the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) to a full-fledged supranational legal order. Likewise, the EU's administration has gradually evolved into a multifaceted and encompassing constellation of public organizations, ranging from the Commission and its Directorate Generals (DG's) to a host of independent institutions and agencies. Even in recent years, during which Member State public organizations were often subject to terminations and budget-cuts due to the financial crisis, it seems that the EU's administration has instead expanded to cope with a multitude of policy issues. It thus appears that processes leading to the establishment or reform of public organizations operate in a fundamentally different way on the EU-level than they do on the national level. Given the political and societal salience of EU integration in recent years, understanding when and why EU-level organizations are created, reformed or terminated is of paramount importance. It is therefore surprising that only limited and fragmented initiatives to study the EU bureaucracy's development have been undertaken up until now. By establishing a database that tracks the structural change events encountered by EU-level executive organizations and afterwards linking this with other already available data, we aim to distill the factors that cause not only the creation of new EU organizations, but also the structural reforms that they undergo in their lifetimes and that increase their risk of termination. This database will map the EU's bureaucracy comprehensively, and will include the DG's and agencies under the Commission, agencies established by the Council beyond the Commission's hierarchy, and other independent executive bodies such as the European Central Bank and the European External Action Service. This database will be an asset not only to pursue personal ongoing research but also to use in major research project applications for FWO and EU- Horizon 2020 program, as well as for cooperation with UA partners (e.g. the research groups ACIM and 'Government and Law', the ACTORE consortium) as well with established foreign partners. The research proposal presented here is aimed at acquiring the resources necessary to hire job-students that will assist in the data gathering process required to further complete this database.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Multiple inequalities and intersectionality in European Development Policy. 01/01/2017 - 31/12/2020

Abstract

The proposed research seeks to systematically describe and analyse multiple inequality and intersectionality in European development cooperation by means of a structured focussed comparison (SFC). The aim of the research is first, to get a better understanding of what equality principles the European Union (EU) promotes abroad, and second how these correspond with the equality principles that are promoted by EU Member states in their development cooperation. The data for the SFC are EU and Member State policy documents. Specifically the policy texts will be analysed through critical frame analysis, which offers a systematic method to analyse policy problems and solutions, as well as the consequences they have for (in)equality. This method will enable us to analyse how multiple discrimination and intersectionality are framed in European development aid, grasp what is similar or different and examine shifting patterns in similarities and differences. The proposed research is both empirically and theoretically relevant. While there is an extensive body of literature applying an intersectional approach to internal European policy, there has been very been little empirical research on intersectionality in European policy abroad. Furthermore the study aims at gaining a deeper theoretical knowledge of Europeanisation in development policy and the formation of European policy.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Effects of Institutional Change on Participatory Democracy and the Involvement of Civil Society Organisations (DemocInChange). 01/01/2017 - 31/12/2018

Abstract

DemocInChange understands the current challenges to EU integration as an opportunity to rethink the interface of civil society organisations (CSOs) and EU institutions as a basis for supranational participatory democracy. It does so by focusing on CSOs that aim to improve citizenship rights and participation for groups often marginalized in the policy-making process, more precisely by studying the effects of internal EU administrative reorganisation on the participation of CSOs in EU decision- and policy-making.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Research project concerning the calculation of the financial consequences of the reform of the illness pensions for the statutory personnel in the Belgian public sector, based on the proposal of the Commission on the Pension Reform 2020-2040 01/10/2016 - 30/09/2017

Abstract

The Commission Pension Reform 2020-2040 has suggested to end the arrangement regarding the early retirement of the definitively disabled civil servants. In the new system, civil servants would fall within the scope of the health insurance, just like contracted government employees and workers in the private sector. This implies certain alterations, not in the least regarding costs. The aim of this study is to assess, in a large set of cases, what the financial impact of this suggested reform would be.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Antwerp Consortium on the Organization of Rulemaking and Multilevel Governance in Europe (ACTORE). 01/09/2016 - 31/08/2019

Abstract

The core research revolves around the theme of multilevel governance in the EU. The consortium examines how EU multilevel governance impacts upon public policymaking processes in relation to rule-making and rule-implementation, both at the European and the domestic level. Its research program is centered around three interrelated research lines focusing on the complex multilevel governance system of the EU, changing domestic and EU rule-making processes and the legitimacy of the EU multilevel political system. Multilevel governance in the EU has made the organizational and institutional architecture of government and governance institutions much more interdependent and complex, affecting the way national and European societal interests organize themselves, how they secure representation and provide input in order to influence policy outcomes. These developments interact with changing domestic and European processes and outcomes of rule-making. All this ultimately raises questions concerning the legitimacy of how the EU multilevel political system operates and involves citizens and societal groups.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Policy research centre: administrative renewal (2016-2020). 01/07/2016 - 31/12/2020

Abstract

The policy research centre is a framework programme of the Flemish government for research on public administration and management. Within the framework, Antwerp University is doing research on central-local financial relations, on resliency in governance, on large infrastructure programming and on personnel legislation.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

When, why and how do bureaucrats and politicians respond to reputational threats? Comparing Central Government Organizations in Denmark and Belgium/Flanders'. 24/06/2016 - 31/12/2019

Abstract

Whereas the creation and institutionalization of semi-autonomous agencies with increasing degrees of organizational autonomy has been a global trend for more than two decades, an partially opposite international trend of increased saliency of these agencies resulting in de-agencification, agency mergers, and reducing agency autonomy becomes recently observable. In this joint four-year research project by prof. dr. Heidi Houlberg Salomonsen (Denmark), prof.dr. Koen Verhoest and dr. Jan Boon (both UAntwerpen), financed by the Danish Agency for Science, Research and Innovation, we connect these observations with theoretical insights of bureaucratic theory, as elaborated by Daniel Carpenter, George Krause and Moshe Maor. In order to test and further develop central claims made in bureaucratic reputation theory, this project consists of two distinct yet integrated parts. First a medium-N study, including the quantitative analysis of hypotheses on whether threats to different aspects of an agency's reputation affect the various types of communication responses from different types of agencies with different kinds of tasks. In this part we test acclaimed theoretical insights which were derived from regulatory agencies in US and Israeli context by studying agencies with different kinds of tasks in different politico-administrative settings. Second a multiple-case study, using process-tracing methods to identify whether an accumulation of reputational threats to agencies results in political decisions at the detriment of agencies.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Uniform statute for the public sector personnel - Academic advise 01/05/2016 - 31/10/2017

Abstract

The purpose of this project is to give academic support to the federal government concerning some topics related to the statute of the federal public personnel. Since these advices concern preparatory work on issues that are not finalized yet, it is not possible to enumerate these subjects.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

An evaluation of social rent regulation; towards less detail and more local autonomy 01/04/2016 - 28/02/2017

Abstract

This study evaluates the current regulation on social renting and proposes concrete legal recommendations to government based on a good understandig of regulatory dynamics in the public sector. The study is a cooperation between legal scholars, housing scholars and Public administration.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Societal and spatial added value of PPP: a policy brief 09/03/2016 - 25/03/2016

Abstract

As a result of a participatory research trajectory with a survey of 100 policy makers and practitioners, two workshops and a conference, a policy brief was written on how to optimize the societal and spatial added value of public private partnerships (PPP). This project was done in cooperation with the Flemish Architectural Regulator, the PPP Knowledge Center and the PPP Investment Agency and was conducted by Koen Verhoest, Tom Willems and Joris Voets (UGent).

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Unilateral variation of contracts of employment in the public sector: the difficult interplay between administrative and labour law. 01/01/2016 - 31/12/2017

Abstract

The project aims to research one of the most crucial legal issues linked to the employment of contractual employees in the public sector. An important distinction between statutory and contractual employment in the public sector concerns the possibility to modify unilaterally the employment conditions. As far as the officials (who are statutory employed) are envisaged, the principle of changeability of public services allows, under certain conditions, to modify unilaterally their employment conditions. Unilateral modification of employment conditions for staff employed with employment contracts is far more limited under Belgian law. This scope of the so-called ius variandi is very limited.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Policy capacity of rural municipalities: fourth round, including knowledge transfer 01/01/2016 - 30/04/2017

Abstract

Policy capacity of small, rural municipalities is often said to be lacking. Yet, empirical evidence is limited. From previous studies, we found no firm evidence for a lack of capacity. Diversity amongst municipalities is high. Through in site visitations, this study attempts to identify strategies to improve capacity and to learn from other municipalities.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Cancer and re-employment of patients working in the public sector: an analysis of the juridical difficulties, policy advises and the building of a Q&A in favour of this target group. 01/01/2016 - 31/12/2016

Abstract

On demand of the "Vlaamse Kankerliga" the theme concerning inability circuits in the public sector is focussed on the situation of cancer patients. More concrete the existing legislation is analyzed from the point of view of the possibilities and the difficulties to remain the cancer patient on the labour market. On one hand a policy advice will be drawn tenting to size down the actual obstacles. On the other hand the challenge is to offer the cancer patients in the public sector a kind of manual. That manual will allow them to find their way througout the labyrinth of existing rules in case of incapacity.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Public Sector Innovation through Collaboration (PSI-CO) 15/12/2015 - 15/09/2020

Abstract

The interuniversity consortium 'Public Sector Innovation through Collaboration' (2015-2020), coordinated by Professor Koen Verhoest (UAntwerpen) consists of four Belgian (UAntwerpen, KULeuven, UCL and ULg) and one Dutch university (Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam) and is funded by the BRAIN-be program (Belgian Research Action through Interdisciplinary Networks). The partners will work together and study how specific collaborative arrangements can lead to innovation and how governments can support and enhance these collaborations. Both Belgian and foreign collaborative practices in different policy domains will be investigated, using case studies, surveys and action research (Living Labs methodology). The research aims to generate both fundamental/scientific insights (PhDs and publications) and policy-oriented insights (recommendations for Belgian federal government and/or other governments). Nowadays, Public Sector Innovation (PSI) is high on government agendas across the globe. Confronted with major budgetary pressures and grand societal challenges, governments worldwide experience a need to step beyond conventional wisdoms and sedimented practices. Public sector innovation literature increasingly asserts that the ability of public organisations to engage and set-up collaborative interaction within and across governmental levels and with societal actors determines their innovative capacity. Government can set up collaborative governance arrangements by engaging in (a) transversal coordination and collaboration with other departments and agencies within government as well as across governments. Government can also engage (b) individual citizens, (for profit and non-profit) organisations and organized interests through co-production or other forms of participation. Despite the growing awareness of the need for collaboration, there is a lack of knowledge about how such collaborative governance arrangements results in meaningful innovations regarding policies and services, and how different forms of collaborative governance interact and reinforce each other. This project will address this research gap by conducting a multi method study on collaborative innovation, studying both (a) how collaborative governance can foster innovation, and (b) by what conditions, in turn, collaborative innovation is supported. The overall research question of this project is 'how and under which conditions do collaborative governance arrangements foster the initiation, adoption and diffusion of innovations in policies and services?' The project uses multiple methods to address these questions, combining (1) a multiple case study phase, (2) a validation phase (Delphi and international validation), (3) a design-phase with two test cases, using Living Lab methodology and (4) a gap-analysis phase, using quantitative survey data, and (5) this in an international comparative set-up.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Municipal governance capacity: a research note. 01/12/2015 - 29/02/2016

Abstract

The output of this study is a paper on governance capacity research in Flanders. The purpose of the paper is to identify knowledge gaps with regards to municipal capacity and to suggest new research questions to address these gaps.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Steering without a stick - intergovernmental relations in transition 15/10/2015 - 14/12/2015

Abstract

The Flemish government enacted a new policy towards local governments. The possibilities of steering policies of municipalities through regulation or subsidies are reduced. This project asks how to influence local policy without being able to resort to hard policy instruments such as rules and subsidies. We study cases of policy influence through providing information, benchmarking and coproduction of policy.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

The effect of active learning environments on students' situational interest. A quasi-experimental study of simulations in political science curricula. 01/10/2015 - 30/09/2019

Abstract

Academic teaching in political science has been increasingly changing from more teacher-centered towards more student-centered teaching. This trend entails the increasing use of active learning environments such as simulations which challenge students to deal critically with various aspects of decision-making, the content of policies, and the interactions between multiple actors and levels. Advocates of active teaching methods make a number of claims about the effects on learning results and dimensions of affective learning. However, substantive evidence of the effects is up to now rather anecdotal and methodologically poor, sometimes even contradictory. Hence, the main aim of this project is to investigate the effect of simulations of decision-making on one of the most important affective components of student learning: student's situational interest. The latter has been shown to be triggered by factors in the learning environment and an important predictor of academic performance. We start from the assumption that variation in active-learning environments will have an impact on students' situational interest. The research questions in this project therefore deal with how simulations influence situational interest of students. Do simulations of decision-making enhance student's situational interest? How does situational interest develop during a simulation of decision-making? Which conditions make simulations of decision-making more or less effective? What are the prohibiting and stimulating factors? Methodologically the project uses a quasi-experimental study in an ecological valid setting combining repeated measurement survey data with qualitative data from interviews and focus groups with students. We will collect unique data in a treatment condition as well as in a control condition. The intervention condition comprises several samples that are readily available as the main promotor of the team is involved in several national and international simulation projects. The design allows for innovation in terms of methods (quasi-experimental setting), empirics (unique data), multi-disciplinary approach (nexus between political sciences and educational sciences) and implementation (improving the effectiveness of simulations as a teaching tool).

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Bureaucracy despite reforms: does a history of intensive structural reforms make public sector organizations more bureaucratic (again)? 01/10/2015 - 30/09/2019

Abstract

This project, funded by BOF (Special Research Fund) studies through quantitative and qualitative research the impact of reforms on the organizational climate in public sector organizations. The research is done by Bjorn Kleizen with Prof. dr. Koen Verhoest and dr. Jan Wynen as supervisors. The research does not deal with effects on individuals inside organisations.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

How history matters for public sector organizations: examining the effect of past changes on organizational autonomy. 01/10/2015 - 30/09/2018

Abstract

In response to economic pressures and increasing demands on public sector performance, subsequent waves of public sector reforms were introduced over the last decades. During these global reform waves, public sector organizations were subject to a wide array of structural changes. Research has largely neglected the impact of such sequential and repeated structural changes on public sector organizations. My research addresses this gap and examines the effect of an organization's history of structural changes on a key variable for the functioning of a public sector organization: the way it deals with organizational autonomy. The autonomy an organization enjoys in practice does not always equal the formal autonomy it received from political principals (parliament, cabinet and ministers). Some organizations do not fully exploit their autonomy leading to situations whereby organizations are unable to fulfill their goals for society. In contrast, others try to maximize and even expand it, making the organizations more resistant to control from their political principals. Consequently, the issue of organizational autonomy is attracting much academic interest because it impacts directly on both public sector performance as well as democratic control of public organizations. The link between an organization's history of structural changes and its organizational autonomy will be examined using large N data as well as small N indepth case studies. This FWO post-doc is carried out at both KULeuven and UAntwerpen.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Backseat drivers: How Regulatory Indicators are made. 01/10/2015 - 30/09/2017

Abstract

In recent decades, governments increasingly use regulatory indicators as a new tool of policy design. Like other policy tools, regulatory indicators aim to steer behavior of actors in the economy and in society. Yet, unlike traditional tools, they do so without the coercive or financial backing of the state apparatus. Regulatory indicators typically present themselves as a product of science (i.e. evidence-based), and the pressure they exert is mainly reputational. Examples of regulatory indicators are the educational rankings of the OECD, the credit ratings of public debt, and the governance indicators of the World Bank. The stress test of the European Banking Authority (EBA), the case study in this project, is an eminent case of a regulatory indicator. Despite their increasing importance, not much is known on how these regulatory indicators are made. Indicators are presented as objective facts and all agency involved in their development is stripped away. Notwithstanding the regulatory impact of choices in indicator design, the actors responsible for their production remain anonymous backseat drivers. This project addresses this gap with an in-depth case study of the development of the EBA stress test. The project conceives regulatory indicators as a being coproduced through both political and technocratic mechanisms.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Optimizing public-private partnership projects for innovation. 01/01/2015 - 31/12/2018

Abstract

PhD research funded by the Agency for Innovation and Science: Innovation is currently a hot topic and policy makers all over the world believe that innovation is required to tackle major global policy challenges. Often the assumption is made that public-private partnerships (PPPs) are one of the cooperation forms that can deliver on innovative outcomes. However, there is insufficient knowledge on how and under what conditions the governance of PPPs can be used to stimulate innovation and sustainability. Therefore, the main research question in this PhD project is: how does the governance of PPP-projects by the government influence the degree to which private sector companies involved in these PPP-projects innovate? We expect that both 'market-oriented governance' and 'network governance' instruments can influence innovation and that these elements interact with each other. The empirical research will be divided into two steps: first a medium-N study based on fuzzy-set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (fs-QCA) and second a small-N case study based on comparative process tracing.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Business Models for Enhancing Funding and Enabling Financing of Infrastructure in Transport (BENEFIT). 01/12/2014 - 30/09/2016

Abstract

EU-funded H2020 project BENEFIT takes an innovative approach by analysing funding schemes within an inter-related system. Funding schemes are successful (or not) depending on the Business Model that generates them. The performance of the Business Model is affected by the implementation context and the transport mode. It is matched successfully (or not) by a financing scheme. Relations between actors are described by a governance model (contracting arrangements). These are key elements in Transport Infrastructure Provision, Operation and Maintenance. Success is a measure of the appropriate matching of elements. Within BENEFIT funding and financing schemes are analysed in this respect. Describing these key elements through their characteristics and attributes and clustering each of them is the basis of, first, developing a generic framework.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Research on the domain of labour law, social security law and law concerning the civil servants. 01/10/2014 - 30/09/2015

Abstract

The main purpose of the sabbatical leave is to contribute - from an independent scientific view - to the societal debate concerning some hot issues in the field of the employment of public sector personnel. The focus is to elaborate the idea of a uniform statute for all the workers in the public sector and the future pension reforms 2020-2040, especially on the domain of the civil servant pensions.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Transgender and political science in Europe: a comparative approach. 24/06/2014 - 30/11/2014

Abstract

This workshop brings together key established and emerging European scholars working in the trans* field in order to develop chapters which will be published in an edited collection. This text will be the first European trans academic publication with a main focus in political science. It will address citizenship and recognition, welfare regimes, and social movements. The workshop will also provide space for new themes to emerge. It will raise important questions concerning the direction and scope of political science in relation to gender diversity, including the gender binaried nature of much current theorising, and in so doing will advance the discipline more broadly.

Researcher(s)

  • Promotor: Motmans Joz

Research team(s)

Public administration study of innovative contract and cooperation models as opportunities for more sustainability. 07/01/2014 - 07/10/2014

Abstract

This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other hand the Flemish Public Service. UA provides the Flemish Public Service research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract. The project aims at strengthening the sustainability of government actions and public procurement in the context of the grand societal challenge to make the economy greener and more sustainable. The project analyses how sustainability aims are inserted into innovative public procurement contracts and cooperation models (including public private partnerships PPPs) and how this is actually applied in real-life cooperation. This is studied in a multi-level context of European legislation and policies.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Effective Gender Equality in Research and the Academia (EGERA). 01/01/2014 - 31/12/2017

Abstract

EGERA brings together eight research and higher education institutions in seven EU member states (Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain) + Turkey, bound by a same commitment to the dual objective of achieving gender equality in research, and strengthening the gender dimension in research. Upon innovative methods, of which some have been experimented and evaluated under previous/on-going FP7 projects, our cumulative and inclusive approach will notably support the operationalization of structural changes with both an intensive and extensive use of gender training, as an instrument for effective gender mainstreaming strategies. Mobilizing considerable gender expertise and relying upon multi-level women in science policy networks, EGERA will also put efforts into the dissemination of its outputs and achievements across the European Research Area.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Brain-Transversal Assessment of Intermodel New Strategies (BRAIN-TRAINS). 01/12/2013 - 28/02/2018

Abstract

Interuniversity research project financed within the BRAIN program (Belgian Research Action through Interdisciplinary Networks). BRAIN-TRAINS deals with rail freight intermodality, and the extent to which it can be made successful, under market, society and policy-making challenges, and analyzing how intermodality contributes to answering these challenges. Starting point is the relative weak usage of this type of transport. The research proposal aims at building on existing knowiedge, integrating, and approaching the problem from an interdisciplinary perspective.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Governance of municipalities and provinces: towards a new form of inter-relationships around spatial policy. 07/11/2013 - 06/08/2014

Abstract

This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other hand the Flemish Public Service. UA provides the Flemish Public Service research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

The impact of New Public Management at the frontline of public services: a longitudinal analysis of the ombudsman records (2000-2012). 01/10/2013 - 30/09/2017

Abstract

This project studies the impact of New Public Management (NPM) on the frontline of public services where citizens and public service providers interact. We will study whether NPM fulfilled its promise of more flexibility and better accountability, or whether NPM created new forms of rigidity, increased complexity and resulted in blame shifting. Empirically, we will perform a content analysis on complaints to the Flemish ombudsman. We are allowed to access the database of the Ombudsman with more than 12000 complaints. The records include the original correspondence between government actors regarding the complaint, which provides a unique perspective on day-to-day governance practice. The database spans more than 10 years, with cases before and after the introduction of NPM in Flanders in 2006 (Beter Bestuurlijk Beleid). We will develop an extensive coding scheme to analyse a sample of 840 records. We expect that the introduction of NPM will lead to a shift in the way public services deal with complaints.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Successfully mainstreaming gender in EU development cooperation and the role of the EU, the partner country and civil society: a best and worst cases analysis. 01/10/2013 - 30/09/2016

Abstract

The proposed research seeks to examine which factors contribute to successful gender mainstreaming of European Union (EU) development aid towards individual developing countries by analysing 16 as-yet unexplained best and worst-case practices. There are three hypotheses linked to a set of independent variables: the first hypothesis focuses on factors related to the preferences and interests of the EU; the second hypothesis concentrates on internal political and governance factors in the partner country; and the third hypothesis explores the role of civil society in the partner country. The ultimate aim of the project is to determine empirically under which circumstances gender mainstreaming works and contribute to the mostly theoretically oriented gender mainstreaming literature.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Spatial and societal gain (in the context of supporting research for the PPP-trajectory. 23/09/2013 - 31/12/2013

Abstract

This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other hand the Flemish Public Service. UA provides the Flemish Public Service research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract. This project studies the extent to which public private partnerships can lead to more quality, added value in terms of economic, ecological and social benefits, and how this materialises in the complex multi-level partnerships which are prevailing in Flanders (local, regional and European).

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Liberalization and privatization of essential public services. 06/09/2013 - 14/07/2016

Abstract

This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other hand Erasmus Mundus. UA provides Erasmus Mundus research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract. This funding provides in the preparation of a PhD by Nurul Amin on the effects of the global trend of liberalisation and the emergence of a multi-level regulatory arrangement on the regulatory effectiveness and market competitiveness in telecom and energy in South Asian countries, in comparison with other parts of the world.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

The links between sexism, homophobia and transphobia. 17/07/2013 - 31/03/2014

Abstract

This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other hand Brussels Hoofdstedelijk Gewest. UA provides Brussels Hoofdstedelijk Gewest research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Scientific Chair Provincial and local personnel management. 01/07/2013 - 30/06/2019

Abstract

This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other hand the Province of Antwerp. UA provides the Province of Antwerp research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Between public support and decisiveness: a comparative case study of the (societal) support in decision making processes). 01/07/2013 - 31/10/2017

Abstract

This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other hand the Province of Antwerp. UA provides the Province of Antwerp research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Recommendations for future-oriented organizational-administrative framework for the administrative policy of the Flemish administration. 01/05/2013 - 31/12/2013

Abstract

This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other hand the Flemish Public Service. UA provides the Flemish Public Service research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract. This project starts with the observation that the current structure of the government is not fit to deal with the global societal grand challenges in a multi-level and globalising context which we are confronted with. How has the government to be organised to be able to act in a transversal coordinated way across levels, in a resilient and swift way taking into account the restricted budget? This project deploys survey, interviews and focus groups to tackle these questions.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

New Public Management and the Performance of Public Services: a Missing Link? 01/01/2013 - 31/12/2016

Abstract

This research project wants to test whether and why New Public Management does (not) matter for performance. The project builds on the management matters research line, but addresses its two major limitations. Primarily, our project will seek better theoretical explanations for correlations between management and performance. Secondly, by going beyond the statistical testing, we search the generative mechanisms of the relationship between NPM and performance by asking why, how and under what conditions management matters.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Second and third phase guidance governability measurement rural municipalities. 01/01/2013 - 28/02/2015

Abstract

This project studies administrative capacity of rural municipalities. Based on an indicator set and case study research, 15 municipalities will be analysed. The project will propose recommendations for improving policy capacity.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Regulation, procurement processes, and contractual incentives in PPP projects, and their impact on PPP performance: a comparative study of PPP cases in different countries. 15/12/2012 - 15/12/2016

Abstract

This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other Republic of Indonesia. UA provides Republic of Indonesia research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract. This project studies how governments deal with public private partnerships as globally diffused form of public service delivery. How should governments regulate, support and steer public private partnerships and what is the effects on the features and dynamics of these partnerships? This study compares policies and practices in European countries with other countries, taking into account the effect of supranational regulations and policies.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

In search of economical behaviour in times of global budgetary scarcity - Effects of autonomy, control, task and management on overhead costs in public organizations: Theoretical- empirical research using non-obtrusive data and 3 analysis methods. 01/10/2012 - 30/09/2016

Abstract

In these times of global financial and fiscal crisis, governments all over the world are looking for ways to reduce the budgetary burden of public organizations and to foster their economical and cost-conscious behaviour. The budgetary policies of the EU are also a major factor in this. One crucial element is the reduction of overhead costs within public organizations, as this allows budgetary savings and the reallocation of relative more budgetary means to the primary activities of public organizations. Overhead costs refer to the resources that organizations invest in supporting functions which enable the execution of their primary processes. The share of resources spent on organizational overhead (i.e. spent on non-program expenses) is generally considered to be a good inverse measurement of economical behaviour of organizations. Hence, for governments and society at large, it is crucial to know what causes large organizational overhead, and hence, a lack of economical behaviour. Moreover, since the 1980s governments around the world have adopted New Public Management (NPM) reforms, aiming to render public organizations more business-like, and make them more economical and cost-conscious as part of a better performance (i.e. economy, efficiency and effectiveness). According to NPM-doctrines, public bureaucracies needed to become 'lean and mean', by among others (1) disaggregating them in smaller, single-purpose agencies at some distance from government and shielding them off from political influence , (2) by giving them large degrees of managerial autonomy and (3) simultaneously subjecting them to result control by the minister through performance contracts and incentives. These changes in the control and regulatory environment of public organizations was believed to enhance economical behaviour, and hence reduce share of overhead costs. Likewise, more private sector oriented management would cut overhead costs. However, until now empirical research remains inconclusive about the extent performance, including economical behaviour, has indeed improved by agencification and other NPM-reforms. Also governments are increasingly sceptical about the extent to which NPM reduced overhead expenses for government as a whole, as NPM reforms, like agencification, seemed to have created proliferation and fragmentation of overhead functions. By using a dataset on all 70 departments and agencies under the remit of the Flemish government, this project enables to compare the share of overhead between organizations which have been subjected to a different extent to managerial autonomy and result control by the minister, as well as to other NPM reforms. Moreover, the project studies and theorizes the effect of these reforms on organizational overhead. The project deals with the caveats which we identify in the current state of the art of governmental efficiency studies and public sector performance studies, by: (1) defining a robust theoretical framing of hypotheses, based on neo-institutional economics and alternative theories; (2) integrating external (i.e. control and regulatory environment, task-specific and political environment) and internal determinants (i.e. management, encompassing structure, tools, values and strategies) in one theoretical model and studying their interaction effects; (3) explaining public sector overhead across sectors; (4) having attention for the political environment of public organizations and its effects; (5) avoiding the use of potentially biased perceptual data or ill-comparable archival data regarding relevant variabels, through the use of a non-obtrusive dataset, (6) by studying causality through three alternative methods (statistical analysis methods, econometric estimation of parametric frontiers and comparative configurational methods (CCM)), resulting in methodological triangulation.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Public Private Partnership and Public Accountability. 01/10/2012 - 30/09/2014

Abstract

During the 2004-2009 legislature, the Flemish Government launched a range of Public Private Partnerships (PPP) in different policy areas with a total sum of investments of around 6 billion EUR. PPP's are emblematic for a shift in public administration from Weberian bureaucracies to network arrangements with joint public and private involvement. By far the largest and most controversial project is the Masterplan for Mobility in Antwerp (estimated at 2.2 billion EUR), including the contested closing of the ring road by the 'Lange Wapper' viaduct. Although PPP is often portrayed as a technical management tool, more critical observers point to the lack of public accountability of such large infrastructure projects. Democratic control over public spending, it is argued, gets obfuscated. Through the in-depth case analysis of four important infrastructure projects in Flanders, we study the impact of the shift to PPP on public accountability. Cases are school buildings in a PPP (School invest) and a bureaucratic mode (Agion), and road infrastructure in a PPP (Via-invest) and a bureaucratic mode (Schipdonk Canal).

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Disability circuits in the public sector. 02/05/2012 - 01/11/2012

Abstract

This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other hand the Flemish Public Service. UA provides the Flemish Public Service research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

The influence of the multi-level environment and globalization on (autonomous) public sector organizations. 01/02/2012 - 31/01/2015

Abstract

CentraI is the question how public sector organisations are steered and coordinated in a multi-Ievel environment (and how the control by different governmental levels interact with each other). Additionally, affiliated research issues are defined which focus on related issues of the influence of global crises, risks and reform ideas on governance, on multi-Ievel collaboration and regulation, and on national public administrations. The research plan aims at designing and testing refined explanatory modeis, drawing from different theoretical perspectives, by combining quantitative and qualitative methodological approaches.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Research on models of cooperation for a coordinated urban and city regional housing policy. 01/02/2012 - 15/11/2012

Abstract

This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other hand KULeuven. UA provides KULeuven research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Research Centre for Equal Opportunities (2012-2015). 01/01/2012 - 30/06/2016

Abstract

The main specific objective of the initiative is to provide scientific research Input and support for the equal opportunities policy development and implementation of the Flemish government by developing multidisciplinary expertise and research potential in the area of equal opportunities policy in Flanders in a more integrated way. Another specific objective is to create a documentation and information centre and a contact point which serves a wide circle of direct and indirect beneficiaries in the field of equal opportunities policy.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Policy Research Centre Governmental Organization - Powerful Government (2012-2015). 01/01/2012 - 31/12/2015

Abstract

This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other hand the Flemish Public Service. UA provides the Flemish Public Service research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Supervising the preparation of a framework agreement between DGD and VLIR-UOS 14/11/2011 - 30/09/2012

Abstract

This project represents a formal service agreement between UA and on the other hand VLIR. UA provides VLIR research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Racial differentiation in research output. 11/09/2011 - 10/03/2012

Abstract

This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other hand Erasmus Mundus. UA provides Erasmus Mundus research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Performance management in government: cross-cultural perspectives. 09/09/2011 - 08/05/2013

Abstract

This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other hand Erasmus Mundus. UA provides Erasmus Mundus research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Optimization of the functioning of the housing inspectorate in relation to the housing actors. 01/03/2011 - 31/12/2011

Abstract

The research project studies the role of the housing inspectorate in relation to the housing actors (housing corporations, social rental agencies, credit agencies, ...). The purpose is to optimize the effectiveness of the inspectorate within the current regulatory framework.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Scientific research on specific problems regarding the legal status of the staff of provincial and local governments. 01/02/2011 - 30/06/2013

Abstract

This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other hand Province of Antwerp. UA provides Province of Antwerp research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Belgian policies for disabled citizens: what is the European impact in these matters? 01/01/2011 - 31/12/2012

Abstract

The research project analyses the Belgian disability policies, its structures, the division of competencies and policies themselves. It is a first step towards a larger research on the Europeanization of national disability policies, in which the process of national disability policy-making in different EU Member States is studied.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Flexibility and accountability in local labour market policies: Flemish national expertise for the OECD/LEED review. 01/11/2010 - 15/03/2011

Abstract

This project represents a formal service agreement between UA and on the other hand OECD. UA acts as country expert for an OECD review within the LEED (Local Economic and Employment Development) programme. The study assess how to combine both local flexibility in policy with accountability for central targets.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Public Private Partnership and Public Accountability. 01/10/2010 - 30/09/2012

Abstract

During the 2004-2009 legislature, the Flemish Government launched a range of Public Private Partnerships (PPP) in different policy areas with a total sum of investments of around 6 billion EUR. PPP's are emblematic for a shift in public administration from Weberian bureaucracies to network arrangements with joint public and private involvement. By far the largest and most controversial project is the Masterplan for Mobility in Antwerp (estimated at 2.2 billion EUR), including the contested closing of the ring road by the 'Lange Wapper' viaduct. Although PPP is often portrayed as a technical management tool, more critical observers point to the lack of public accountability of such large infrastructure projects. Democratic control over public spending, it is argued, gets obfuscated. Through the in-depth case analysis of four important infrastructure projects in Flanders, we study the impact of the shift to PPP on public accountability. Cases are school buildings in a PPP (School invest) and a bureaucratic mode (Agion), and road infrastructure in a PPP (Via-invest) and a bureaucratic mode (Schipdonk Canal).

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Can China learn from the EU? A comparative analysis of sustainable building policies. 01/09/2010 - 30/06/2011

Abstract

The applicant can adapt the methods, procedures and analyses of the International Metropolitan Observatory (IMO) research program. The IMO has carried out a phased series of analyses of metropolitan regions and their governance in seventeen countries, including a growing number of developing and transitional countries. The largest, most systematic international collaborative study of metropolitan politics and governance, the IMO is a priority research activity of the Research Committee Comparative Studies on Local Government and Politics of the International Political Science Association. A comparison between fast changing environment such as China and the more institutionalized context of European cities is designed to yield very useful insights

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

A comparative study of urban govervance in China and the EU member states 25/08/2010 - 24/06/2013

Abstract

Performance measurement is carried out by the governments world-wide. Use of performance information is a pivotal issue in performance management. However, the non-use of performance information is a ubiquitous phenomenon in both the developed countries and the developing countries. What are the reasons? The research project would use the comparative method to explore it. We would choose one European City and one city from China to do a comparative study. The objective is to find out the reasons influencing the use of performance information, especially the role of culture and institutions in this process.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Elaboration and support the first phase administration showdown rural communities on behalf of the Flemish Land Agency (VLM). 02/08/2010 - 01/09/2011

Abstract

This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other hand KULeuven. UA provides KULeuven research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Supervised startup rural fund from administration expertise. 01/05/2010 - 30/11/2010

Abstract

This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other hand the Flemish Public Service. UA provides the Flemish Public Service research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Prospective study on the establishment of a measurement and tracking system of local government. 09/03/2010 - 30/09/2010

Abstract

The first objective of the prospective study is to set out the answer to the question of the potential for a series of basic information gathering. It is striking that no 'systematic' (certainly no reliable) data are available to support the social partners in negotiations within Committee C (1) and / or in proving some legislative initiatives in the broadest sense. A solid database that also includes the impact of certain proposals, would already be a valuable realization. The second objective is the collection of a number of additional data which -in a combined basis- can be regarded as indicators for the implemented HRM. A final objective must be to allow local authorities to compare and benchmark.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Credit for the Libraries in Social Sciences and Humanities (Faculty of Social Sciences). 15/09/2009 - 31/12/2012

Abstract

This project represents a research contract awarded by the University of Antwerp. The supervisor provides the Antwerp University research mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions stipulated by the university.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Barrier or leverage? The influence of European social policy in the Belgian equal opportunities policy. (EQUALITY) 01/02/2009 - 30/04/2011

Abstract

The project investigates the impact of Europe's social policies on the Belgian gender equality policies since 1995. Our aim is to explain the partly negative balance in terms of gender equality policies, more specifically when it comes to gender mainstreaming, and the role the EU, more particularly its social policy, plays in this context. Subsequently, the project investigates the institutional conditions for an optimal impact of Europe's social policy on gender equality policies.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

A comparative research on the substantive representation of migrants, seniors and women. 01/01/2008 - 31/12/2011

Abstract

The general research question on "How and why does substantive representation occur (or not)?" comprises four sub questions. 1)Who are the actors? 2) Which acts are included in substantive representation? 3)Which topics can be found in substantive representation? 4)In which context does substantive representation take place?

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Organizational analysis of data sharing in the space monitor regarding the "Steunpunt Ruimte & Wonen". 01/10/2007 - 31/12/2011

Abstract

This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other hand KULeuven. UA provides KULeuven research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

The role of federalisation in the ethno-political discourse of political parties and elites. The case of Belgium (1968-2007). 01/10/2007 - 30/09/2010

Abstract

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Performance Criteria for the operation of social housing. 01/10/2007 - 31/12/2008

Support of trial projects local ombudsman, including the adaptation of scenarios for local system of complaint handling. 01/06/2007 - 01/12/2008

Abstract

Support of trial projects local ombudsman, including the adaptation of scenarios for local system of complaint handling.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Development and application of a district barometer for the district Wilrijk. 01/02/2007 - 31/03/2008

Abstract

Districts are a particular and relatively unknown policy level in the Belgian state structure. On the one hand districts are a separate level with their own institutons, processes and competences. On the other hand they are strongly tied to and dependent on the city of Antwerp. The district of Wilrijk ordered a tool meant to measure how citizens perceive its policies. The Leeronderzoek 2007-2008 (seminar for bachelors in political and social sciences on how to set up and conduct a research project) is meant to develop such a tool. Results are expected to be available in March 2008.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Policy Research Centre for the equal opportunities policy (2007-2011). 01/01/2007 - 31/12/2011

Abstract

The main specific objective of the initiative is to provide scientific research Input and support for the equal opportunities policy development and implementation of the Flemish government by developing multidisciplinary expertise and research potential in the area of equal opportunities policy in Flanders in a more integrated way. Another specific objective is to create a documentation and information centre and a contact point which serves a wide circle of direct and indirect beneficiaries in the field of equal opportunities policy.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Flemish Center for Policy Support - Public Management (2007-2011). 01/01/2007 - 31/12/2011

Abstract

The researchprogram 2007-2011containes four clusters: 1) Innovative policy, management and financial cycle; 2) HRM and change management; 3) Steering in networks of government, non profit and business; 4) Renewed relations between citizens and government.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Principles of good governance and their impact on contract-based (labour) relations in the public sector: cats and dogs? 01/01/2007 - 31/12/2010

Abstract

This research project aims in the first place to answer the question if and to what extent the principles of proper administration are to be observed by the Government when it does not act unilaterally, but closes contracts. It also intends to measure the impact of the different principles of fair administration and other public law legislation in the more specific case when an employer of public law subscribes an employment contract. In this last case the interference between administrative law and labour law is the core issue.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Reserved seats: an explorative comparative research on defining and classifying societies into social groups. 01/01/2007 - 31/12/2007

Abstract

Studying reserved seats in parliaments this project examines how societies define and classify groups: which criteria serve to define them, which rules help to classify them, to which extent does the individual, the group concerned or society at large decide in these matters and what are the consequences of these criteria and rules. This comparative exploring project serves to develop research on the origins and consequences of social groups in processes of political representation.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Study into the desirability and practical organization of the local Customer Complaints Procedure and the function of ombudsman in Flanders. 16/08/2006 - 15/05/2007

Abstract

Zie nederlandstalig abstract

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Complaint handling in Flemish local governments. A public administration analysis according to the 'exit-voice' theory. 01/10/2004 - 30/09/2005

Abstract

The relation between citizens and government is currently under pressure. Authorities share the perception of a problematic relation with citizens (the so-called `gap' between citizens and government). They also have the feeling that their democratic value and legitimacy has weakened. To bring politics, policy and government `closer to the citizen', various somewhat incoherent initiatives that must strengthen the influence of social actors on policymaking, are taken. Looking from a scientific point of view, this development is in agreement with the `exit-voice' theory of Hirschman. To prevent citizens who are dissatisfied from choosing `exit'-possibilities (e.g. vote for an ultra-right-wing party), authorities give shape to various `voice'-possibilities; they want to put channels at the citizens' disposal by which they can make their voices heard. In this context there is unmistakably a role reserved for complaint handling in local authorities. Also local authorities are confronted with the issue of legitimacy and feel the necessity to shape voice-mechanisms. Moreover, complaint handling is in fact most expected in local government. After all it is a `close-to-the-citizens'-government where conflicts between citizens and administration frequently occur. Complaint handling concentrates on the particular citizen who is not satisfied with a particular decision that matters to him. In this study, we take a close look at the social reality of complaint handling in local authorities. By means of a theoretical and fundamental study of the national and international literature concerning policy and management, we will define concepts and make an ideal representation of the system of local complaint handling. Then we will map systematically all the existing initiatives for complaint handling in local authorities. We will analyse the objectives that local authorities had in mind when they set up a system for complaint handling, just like the procedural characteristics and processes of local complaint handling. The results of this analysis will be compared with the ideal system developed during the first phase of the study. The findings of this research provide clearness about possible shortcomings and enable us to formulate concrete proposals for improvement, based on the insights we acquired within the scope of this study.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

01/10/2003 - 31/03/2004

Abstract

On the first of Januari 2002, the decree concerning the right of complaint vis-à-vis government institutions came into force. This decree gives every citizen the right to complain (free of charge) about the actions and functioning of a government administration. A careful dealing with complaints is thereby considered as an element of the principle of good management; a contribution to a better relationship between citizen and public administration and to an improvement of the quality of services. The decree concerning the right of complaint is an important step in the accomplishment of a comprehensive and necessary (internal) complaint service, proceeding an (external) second line complaint service provided by the Flemish ombudsman. The citizen first needs to complain by the administration as such, so the administration can solve the complaint. Only when the administration, according to the citizen, does not meets his needs, the Flemish ombudsman will deal with the complaint. This research evaluates the implementation of the decree concerning the right to complaint in the Flemish government. It provides a survey of the internal complaint services by the public administrations and examines whether there is an internal support for a professional complaint service.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Study concerning contractual regulation of the legal position and application of the trade union statute. 01/07/2003 - 30/06/2004

Abstract

The area of tension between the statutory and the contractual employment in the public sector has never been as great as it is now. In theory it is clear: the normal mode of employment is by statute. In practice, however, more than half of the personnel at the local and provincial administrative level is employed under a civil contract of employment. It's not surprising then, that the parties concerned, for example trade unions and employers' organisations, argue in favour of a uniform regulation of the legal position. A step even further is a uniform regulation of the legal position, based on the generalized contractual employment, as in the private sector. This concept seems worth exploring and deserves an in-depth examination of possibilities and restrictions, considering the individuality of the public and private sector. The trade union statute obliges the different authorities to consult or to negotiate in advance with the representative trade unions about most measures they want to issue concerning the employment regulations of their personnel. With regard to the negotiations, general committees were set up, among which the committee for the provincial and local public services (committee C). Within this committee departments and subdepartments are active. We will explore the possibilities of concentrating the negotiations in committee C on the different subgroups that resort under it.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Training Centre for EU Affairs Strengthening State Institutions for EU Membership. 01/01/2003 - 31/12/2003

Abstract

The "training centre for EU affairs" is part of a cooperation program between Flanders and Central and East Europe. The goal of this project is to start up an education centre to improve the knowledge and skills of Czech public servants about Europe in anticipation of the entry to the European Union in 2004. This way, the project supports the main goal of the Czech foreign policy: stimulating the necessary reforms for integration in the European Uninon. The intention of the Flemish government is to assist candidate member states like the Czech Republic with this goal.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Local networks and political recruiting. The missing-ling between political demand and political supply. 01/01/2002 - 31/12/2004

Abstract

In Antwerp, one third of the votes go to an extreme right-wing party. To restore the dialogue between the citizens and the local government, directly elected district councils were created, with own capacities and budget. The main theme of this research is whether this intra-communal decentralisation will succeed or not. In what degree do the political parties have contact with their electorate? Are the councillors and party-militants sufficiently inserted in the social life of their neighbourhood or district? Is the amount of their social and cultural capital a necessary condition for succes? Are parties, whose members have more social and cultural capital, able to maintain better contacts with the electorate?

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Administrative organisation in Flanders. 01/10/2001 - 31/12/2006

Abstract

In 2001, the Flemish government awarded the consortium comprising the K.U.Leuven (Public Management Institute), the Universiteit Antwerpen (Management and Administration Research Group), the Universiteit Gent (Social Scientific Methodology Research Group) and the Hogeschool Gent (Commercial Science and Public Administration Department) recognition as a Policy Research Centre for Governmental Organization in Flanders. Five research projects were executed by the University of Antwerp. These projects will be briefly discussed in the following paragraphs. 1. Research Line: Multi-actor governance: Evaluative research regarding the need for socialisation and professionalisation of the local policy level (2002-2006). The purpose of this research is to map out which specific forms of cultures and structures of policy development and creation of public support actually exist in local government; to evaluate the need for and desirability of further socialisation and professionalisation of policy making at local policy level; to develop prescriptive models and convert these into instruments, with a view to improving the effectiveness and legitimacy of local policy. 2. Research Line: Multi-actor governance: Europeanisation of the flemish administrative system (2002-2006). This research has the following objectives: to examine to what extent the Flemish administrative structures, cultures and policy have been Europeanised; and to make proposals regarding the strategies that Flanders can operate in order optimally to handle the European issue and, subsequently, in order also to influence it. 3. Research Line: ICT & e-Government: E-government in an extra-administrative context (2002-2006). Within this project, emphasis is placed on ICT as an interface between citizens (and, by extension, associations and companies) and the government. This interface assumes the form of e-service provision initiatives and e-democracy (e-participation) initiatives. The research asks which groups of citizens currently participate in e-democracy and e-service provision in order, on the basis of this, to inform the policy regarding strategies for a socially inclusive e-government policy. 4. Research Line: Human Resource Management & Changemanagement: Deregulation and decentralisation as catalysts for a modern and flexible human resource management (2002-2006). This project will focus primarily on the experiences of various actors in governments in other countries with particular remuneration systems. The starting point, in each case, is a detailed overview of the remuneration system of the relevant case on the basis of a single pattern of variables. This leads to a well-founded appraisal of the foreign cases as well as to an evaluation to what extent the remuneration systems found may be regarded as comparable, positive (to be emulated) or negative (to be avoided) examples for the Flemish situation. Any pitfalls, difficulties and opportunities that a modernised remuneration policy has entailed in other countries are then examined. The aspects of deregulation and decentralisation are also considered. 5. Research Line: Human Resource Management & Changemanagement: Reforms relating to deregulation & administrative simplification (2002-2006). The specific objective of the 'regulation management and administrative simplification' project component is to provide the Flemish government, by means of scientific research and analyses, with insights relating to the managing of regulation, deregulation and re-regulation, and also relating to processes of what is known as administrative simplification. In conclusion, there were also two B-projects conducted at the University of Antwerp. These were executed on a short-term. 1. Support analysis for the new municipal decree - qualitative part (2002): Under the authority of the Flemish minister of home affairs, the SBOV conducted a short-term research to examine the support for the major choices in the Flemish municipal decree. The analysis consists of two parts. In a survey with 1000 respondents, all mayors, secretaries, and a sample of 400 councillors were inquired. In a qualitative part, local politicians and public servants were interviewed to asses the opinions and attitudes. The research had two goals: examine whether and to what extent there is a need for change, and secondly to asses the opinions about the proposals for change. 2. Morphology of contractual employment in Flemish municipalities (2005-2006): The group of contractual employees in the local governments gradually exceeds the category of the statutory civil servants. At the moment there are not yet sophisticated data about the population of contractual employees. In order to get a careful insight in the composition of this group, the Universiteit Antwerpen develops a detailed database with relevant data about the contractual employees in the Flemish cities and municipalities (a.o. sex, age, function, type of contract, level, pay scale, benefits). The purpose of this database is to map the movements of employees. Furthermore, we can distinguish trends in the employment policies of local governments and provide for adequate policy measures.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Conversion, implementation, and control of implementation of European policies in Belgium. Toward a structural adaptation of the way in which Belgium honours its European obligations. 01/01/2001 - 30/06/2004

Should the personal status of civil servants be reformed ? Comparative study of the possibilities and limitations of regularising labour relations in the private and public sector. 01/01/2000 - 31/12/2003

Abstract

The aim of the research is to formulate an essential contribution to the public debate on the legal position of civil servants. On the one hand, the research will focus on the basics of the statutory position of civil servants. On the other hand, the research will focus on those objective differences between public and private sector that could require an adaptation of the specific labour laws.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)