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Academic Publication (ROPPA): Financial cutbacks and the job satisfaction of top-level public managers

Do financial cutbacks make top-level public managers unhappy? This is the question prof. Steven Van de Walle and I examine using a large dataset of European top managers. 

Many studies on cutback management have suggested that cutbacks may have negative consequences for employee well-being in the public sector. However, the relationship between cutbacks and the work-related attitudes of top-level managers has received little attention. In this study, we assess the relationships between five commonly used cutback measures and the job satisfaction of top-level public managers in 12 European countries. We propose and test a model in which autonomy serves as an explanatory variable for the relationship between cutbacks and job satisfaction. The results indicate that cutback measures have little direct effect on the job satisfaction of managers. However, as cutback measures are related negatively to the perceived managerial autonomy of public managers and positively to the degree in which politicians interfere in the affairs of managers, autonomy may function as a mechanism to explain decreased job satisfaction as a result of cutback implementation. The data on which the analysis is based were obtained as part of the COCOPS project.

The article has been accepted for publication in the Review of Public Personnel Administration (ROPPA) and is titled: “How cutbacks and job satisfaction are related: The role top-level public managers’ autonomy”. In order to access the article, click here (paywall)