Adversarialism and Power-Sharing Agreements as Moderators of the Management-Performance Relationship

Governance scholars recognize the salience of context for understanding organizational performance (O’Toole & Meier, 2015; Meier, Rutherford & Avellaneda 2017). While focusing on a set of organizations within a single country allows researchers to assess certain contextual effects, this approach makes it difficult to explore the performance effects of political institutional contexts. This article expands the field of comparative public management by analyzing the indirect performance effects of political institutional context. We rely on two data sets, derived from the 32 Mexican states and the 32 Colombian departamentos during 1995-2010 and 2004-2013, respectively. Although Colombian and Mexican subnational governments exhibit many contextual and institutional similarities, their dissimilar party system structures and trajectories have generated different formal and informal patterns of coalition building. Mexico exhibits more adversarial competition compared to Colombia’s consensual and power-sharing tradition. Our findings suggest that governors’ qualifications boost performance in Mexican states, but not in Colombian departamentos. In other words, Mexican political adversarial context strengthens the effect of managerial qualifications on government performance, whereas Colombia’s power-sharing context moderates the expected boosting effect of governors’ qualifications on performance. We conclude that consensual non-majoritarian systems lack the strong incentives for competition and accountability found in adversarial majoritarian contexts. In adversarial systems, which discourage coalition building, managers’ qualifications are positively correlated with performance.

Bello-Gomez, R.A., Olvera, J. and Avellaneda, C. Adversarialism and Power-Sharing Agreements as Moderators of the Management-Performance Relationship. Invitation to revise and resubmit at Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory.