Bjurstrøm, Karl Hagen (2020):

Principals and agents or principals and stewards?: Performance management of agencies in Norwegian state administration

UiO, Institutt for statsvitenskap






Series of dissertations submitted to the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Oslo
No. 805

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Disse opplysningene er sist endret:

4/10 2021

Horisontal dimensjon:


This thesis explores the performance management of government agencies in Norway using agency theory and stewardship theory answering i) How do ministry-agency steering practices vary, and to what extent do organizational characteristics explain varying ministry-agency steering practices? And ii) How do different performance management practices affect ministerial control of agencies and interagency coordination? Empirically, the research questions are answered using inter alia content analysis of letters of appropriation between ministries and agencies. This thesis establishes a typology of steering practices, and analyses the effect of organizational characteristics on such practices. The thesis also shows how ministerial steering practices, influence the impact of performance management in the steering of agencies, and that public organization’s ability to coordinate depends on their level of policy autonomy, which is defined by ministry-agency steering practice, thereby filling a knowledge gap on how different levels of agency autonomy affect coordination amongst government agencies.

Paper 1: Jostein Askim, Karl Hagen Bjurstrøm & Jonas Kjærvik (2019) Quasi-Contractual Ministerial Steering of State Agencies: Its Intensity, Modes, and How Agency Characteristics Matter, International Public Management Journal, 22:3, 470-498, DOI: 10.1080/10967494.2018.1547339. The article is not available in DUO due to publisher restrictions. The published version is available at:

Paper 2: Karl Hagen Bjurstrøm (2020). Principal-agent or principal-steward: How ministry-agency relations condition the impact of performance management in the steering of government agencies. Public Performance & Management Review, DOI: 10.1080/15309576.2020.1739087. The paper is included in the thesis. Also available at:

Paper 3. Karl Hagen Bjurstrøm (2019) How interagency coordination is affected by agency policy autonomy, Public Management Review, DOI: 10.1080/14719037.2019.1679236. The article is not available in DUO due to publisher restrictions. The published version is available at:

Article 4: Karl Hagen Bjurstrøm. Computer-assisted text analysis: Application on quasi-contractual ministry–agency relations. Publication status: Received revise and resubmit in Public Administration [June 16, 2020]. To be published. The paper is not available in DUO awaiting publishing.