TRS.20.002 – From regulatory pressure to FLEXible bureaucracies: a GOVernance toolkit (FLEXGOV)

Route: Towards resilient societies

Cluster question: 050 What is the secret of a resilient society?

Regulatory pressure in the public sector is a big problem felt by politicians, policy makers, managers, professionals and citizens alike. Regulatory pressure leads to alienation of professionals, high societal costs and decreased quality of public services. Despite the wide recognition of the problem and many initiatives to solve it, the situation is worsening. Therefore it is crucial that the public sector develops a new modus operandi to flexibly and resiliently deal with rules. This project develops such a modus operandi by taking into account the multi-layered environment, changing demands to public services and the value laden character of rules. FLEXGOV develops a multi-disciplinary approach by combining state of the art knowledge from different academic disciplines (public administration, political sciences, organizational sciences, law, science & technology studies, anthropology, ethics), public domains (healthcare, education, police), and societal partners. Through action research, using a mixed-methods research design, we provide insight into the underlying mechanisms that explain the persistence of the problem of regulatory pressure and into how a transition for regulatory pressure to flexible bureaucracies that foster resilience of the public sector can be enabled. Through cross-case analysis this theory development will include attention for regulatory pressure in domain-specific contexts but will also focus on general mechanisms behind regulatory pressure and mechanisms contributing to the transition from regulatory pressure to flexible bureaucracies that foster resilience. This way the project also contributes to theory development on societal resilience. The results are translated into a governance toolkit for practice, which is developed with practice in Living Labs.


Flexible bureaucracies, Meaningful professional work, Public sector, Regulatory pressure, Resilient governing capacity

Other organisations

Erasmus Medical Center (EMC), Gemeente Rotterdam, Ministerie van J&V, Ministerie van OCW, Ministerie van VWS, Nationale Politie, NJI, PO Raad, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen (RUG), Tilburg University (TiU), Utrecht University (UU), VNG, VO-Raad, VVAA


Organisation EUR/ESHPM
Name Prof.dr. R. (Roland) Bal