The State Administration Database

Survey of Governmental Autonomy

Data years: 2004

Tables and figures

No tables and figures are prepared.


In 2004 an electronic questionnaire was sent to all public sector organizations to get information about governmental autonomy and steering.

The Rokkan Centre, University of Bergen, was responsible for the design, and NSD for the practical accomplishment of the survey.


About Survey of Governmental Autonomy


In March 2004 the Norwegian translation and adaptation of the extensive Belgian (Flanders) survey arrangement was distributed to all civil service organizations in Norway (i.e. all state agencies and bodies outside the ministries, reporting directly to a ministry). The organizations were asked to fill in a web-based questionnaire and the purpose of the survey has been to get systematic knowledge about the following main topics:

The Norwegian survey addresses all organizations in the civil service outside the ministries in 2003; i.e. organizations which are part of the state as legal entity and who report directly to a ministry. These organizations can be divided into several types (total number of units in 2003 in parenthesis):

The organizations in the target group consist of three different types:

  1. National single civil service organizations without subordinated units (e.g. Norwegian Competition Authority, Government Administration Services, National Office of Building Technology and Administration, The Product Register, The Norwegian Polar Institute, The Directorate for Nature Management, The Ombudsman for Children, The Data Inspectorate). All of these were included.
  2. Integrated civil service organizations that consist of a central unit with regional/local units (e.g. The Norwegian Tax Administration, Norwegian Customs and Excise, The Directorate for Civil Protection and Emergency Planning (DSB), The Directorate of Fisheries, The National Police Directorate, Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority). All central units were included in the survey, and they were asked to answer on behalf of the whole organization.
  3. Group of similar civil service organizations (group organizations) (e.g. The Norwegian Correctional Service, The County Governors, University Colleges). All single units in these groups were included in the survey.

All this information about the organizations is stored in the Norwegian state administration database (‘Forvaltningsdatabasen’ - NSA). This means that the survey population easily could be extracted from the database. The NSA also provided valuable information about organizational characteristics identifying the organizations (size, age, parent ministry, information about organizational change etc.)

Given these criteria, the population adds up to 230 civil service organizations that in 2003 were reporting directly to one or more ministry. When the survey was distributed in March 2004, the population was reduced to 215.

After the survey was adapted to Norwegian conditions, we constructed a database to handle the questions in the survey. Based on this database, the web-form was generated. The web-arrangement was thoroughly tested to make sure the database could handle all the answers and that the whole arrangement with passwords, print versions, help-texts etc was working properly.

The survey was distributed via e-mail sent to the official e-mail address of the organizations. Enclosed in the mail was a description of the survey and a web-link to the electronic questionnaire. Along with contact information, this mail also had the password to access the electronic web-form. We also asked if somebody in the management or someone with extensive information about the organization could fill in the form.

Table. Response rate and effect of reminding. N = 215
  # of responses cumulative %
Total 215  
Result after first distribution of the survey 67 31
After reminding in April 79 (+12) 37
  May 88 (+9) 41
  June 96 (+8) 45
  July 97 (+1) 45
  August 107 (+10) 50
  September 117 (+10) 54
New reminding January-February 2005 150 (+33) 70
No response at all 65  


Under the Appendix heading below, you will find further documentation of the survey.

About the datasets

The dataset Data_ForvAuto consist of all variables from the questionnaire of governmental autonomy. From the State Administrations database are supplementary information gathered and added to the questionnaire variables. This has resulted in the dataset Data_ForvAuto_T. The last dataset, Data_ForvAuto_Populasjon, consist of the populations the questionnaire was sent to.