Does it Matter Who Works at the Center? A Comparative Policy Analysis of Executive Styles

Chris Cooper*, Patrik Marier (2017)
Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis, 19(1): 1-16


This article develops the concept of executive style to explore how variations in the relationships between politicians, career civil servants, and political appointees affect the types of policy outputs. A comparative analysis of home care policies in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia finds that the former’s civil service executive style – where professional civil servants work in close partnership with politicians in all phases of the policy process – led to the development of an innovative home care program with a long-term vision, whereas the latter’s politicized executive style – where politicians marginalize the role of civil servants in favor of political appointees – led to frequent changes in policy largely driven by short-term considerations.