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When Supervision Fails to Induce Compliance

John Brehm and Scott Gates

Journal of Theoretical Politics, 1994, vol. 6, issue 3, 323-343

Abstract: Supervision and compliance play a central role across a wide variety of human activities. To understand the nature of interactions between supervisors and subordinates, the interests and capabilities of both need to be examined. The problems with most studies of supervision stem from overemphasizing the supervisor and paying too little attention to the subordinate. In this paper we present a model which focuses on both the supervisor's and the subordinate's motives and capabilities. This enhanced model extends the principal-agent approach to reflect the political nature of public agencies and the factors that constrain supervision. We examine the broad conditions where supervision does not work. We conclude that subordinates' compliance depends more on the subordinates' preexisting dispositions than on the severity and frequency of `punishment' by a supervisor.

Keywords: agent; compliance; control; principal; supervision (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 1994
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