Organization structure and the effectiveness of public agencies

Barry Bozeman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


There is little consensus about the impact of various organization structures on organization effectiveness. The most notable characteristic of empirical research on the purposes of this assessment is to develop some understanding of the reasons structure/effectiveness research continues to disappoint. The more important barriers to research progress include: (1) a continued reliance on “blackbox empiricism;” (2) underspecified models; (3) measurement discontinuities; (4) sampling complexities; (5) conceptual problems pertaining to aggregation; and (6) basic methodological and statistical errors. In addition to reviewing these problems, this study presents a propositional inventory of structure/effectiveness research and assesses the evidence that has accumulated. Special attention is given to problems involved in the application of findings in a public sector setting. Finally, it is argued that a current primitive state-of-the-art is such that the best approach to applied structure/effectiveness research is to temporarily suspend concern about external validity and concentrate on rigorous logitudinal analyses of single organizations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)235-296
Number of pages62
JournalInternational Journal of Public Administration
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1982
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Public Administration


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