Opportunistic decision-making in government: concept formation, variety and explanation
International Review of Administrative Sciences: an international journal of comparative public administration
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The notion of opportunism is too often used loosely in policy and administrative research on executive decision-making: its various meanings are too rarely clearly distinguished. To make it useful for explanation, this article presents fresh concept formation work, clarifying the concept to recognize different kinds and degrees of opportunism. To illustrate the use of the refined concept, the article examines key decisions by British cabinets and core executives between 1945 and 1990. It proposes that neo-Durkheimian institutional theory can help to explain why different kinds of opportunism are cultivated in differently ordered administrations, so providing new insight into decision-making.