Organizational Capability in the Public Sector: A Configurational Approach

Rhys Andrews*, Malcolm J. Beynon, Aoife M. McDermott

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article brings together resource-based theory and contingency theory to analyze organizational capability in the public sector. Fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis is used to identify configurations of organizational attributes (department size, structural complexity, agencification, personnel instability, use of temporary employees), associated with high and low organizational capability in UK central government departments. Findings identify a single core configuration of organizational attributes associated with high capability departments-low structural complexity and personnel stability. Two core configurations are associated with low capability departments-personnel instability and the combination of structural complexity and departmental agencification. Based on the configurations evident in successful and struggling organizations, discussion illuminates potential organizational design strategies to improve public sector organizational capability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)239-258
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Public Administration Research and Theory
Issue number2
Early online date23 Mar 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2016


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