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The Case for Methodological Individualism in Agency Autonomy Research

Bringselius, Louise LU (2015) European Group of Public Administration (EGPA) Annual Conference p.1-16
Abstract
Over the past few decades, the literature on agency autonomy has increased rapidly. It still struggles, however, to find solid evidence for specific factors explaining variations in autonomy. This paper argues that a reason for this is basic assumptions in this line of research, and more specifically the tendency to focus on factors on the collective level. Using the distinction between methodological individualism and methodological collectivism, the paper describes how autonomy research could be enhanced by also including issues relating to the individual and his/her relations, thereby recognising the importance of dynamics on the micro level. This approach to autonomy challenges the methods typically adopted in this line of research and... (More)
Over the past few decades, the literature on agency autonomy has increased rapidly. It still struggles, however, to find solid evidence for specific factors explaining variations in autonomy. This paper argues that a reason for this is basic assumptions in this line of research, and more specifically the tendency to focus on factors on the collective level. Using the distinction between methodological individualism and methodological collectivism, the paper describes how autonomy research could be enhanced by also including issues relating to the individual and his/her relations, thereby recognising the importance of dynamics on the micro level. This approach to autonomy challenges the methods typically adopted in this line of research and suggests that more in-depth qualitative studies are pursued. Furthermore, it challenges the prevailing assumption that agency autonomy is relatively stable over time. Instead, it opens up the possibility that agency autonomy may actually fluctuate rather rapidly, perhaps even constantly, depending on the actions and attitudes of key individuals. While arguing the case for methodological individualism in agency autonomy research, thus, this paper aims to open up for a new stream of research in the literature on agency autonomy, as a complement to current approaches. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to conference
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Agency autonomy, method, methodology, assumptions, public administration
pages
16 pages
conference name
European Group of Public Administration (EGPA) Annual Conference
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
5330d86b-6920-4e0d-8263-e226323e191f (old id 7793798)
date added to LUP
2015-09-03 09:40:09
date last changed
2016-04-16 11:55:53
@misc{5330d86b-6920-4e0d-8263-e226323e191f,
  abstract     = {Over the past few decades, the literature on agency autonomy has increased rapidly. It still struggles, however, to find solid evidence for specific factors explaining variations in autonomy. This paper argues that a reason for this is basic assumptions in this line of research, and more specifically the tendency to focus on factors on the collective level. Using the distinction between methodological individualism and methodological collectivism, the paper describes how autonomy research could be enhanced by also including issues relating to the individual and his/her relations, thereby recognising the importance of dynamics on the micro level. This approach to autonomy challenges the methods typically adopted in this line of research and suggests that more in-depth qualitative studies are pursued. Furthermore, it challenges the prevailing assumption that agency autonomy is relatively stable over time. Instead, it opens up the possibility that agency autonomy may actually fluctuate rather rapidly, perhaps even constantly, depending on the actions and attitudes of key individuals. While arguing the case for methodological individualism in agency autonomy research, thus, this paper aims to open up for a new stream of research in the literature on agency autonomy, as a complement to current approaches.},
  author       = {Bringselius, Louise},
  keyword      = {Agency autonomy,method,methodology,assumptions,public administration},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {1--16},
  title        = {The Case for Methodological Individualism in Agency Autonomy Research},
  year         = {2015},
}