To read this content please select one of the options below:

Public appointments as a tool for public governance: a systematic literature review

Simone Cocciasecca (Department of Management and Business Administration, Gabriele D’Annunzio University, Pescara, Italy)
Giuseppe Grossi (Nord University, Bodø, Norway) (School of Business, Kristianstad University, Kristianstad, Sweden) (Kozminski University, Warszawa, Poland)
Alessandro Sancino (The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK) (University of Milan-Bicocca, Milan, Italy)

International Journal of Public Sector Management

ISSN: 0951-3558

Article publication date: 1 January 2021

Issue publication date: 15 February 2021




The purpose of this paper is to review previous research on public appointments to systematize existing knowledge, identify gaps and discuss implications for future research in this field.


This paper is based on a systematic literature review, carried out using the Scopus database. We selected academic articles published in journals ranked in the 2018 CABS Academic Journal Guide plus public administration articles in journals classified by Google as falling within the areas of public policy and administration. The papers were analysed according to four categories: geographical area, theoretical framework, research method and organizational setting.


Results show the lack of research regarding areas like Latin America or East Asia; from a theoretical viewpoint, given the lack of explicit theoretical approaches, future research should have more formal and clear theoretical frameworks. Moreover, given the dominance of case study and review/reflection studies, alternative research methods, such as surveys or mixed methods are suggested for future works.

Research limitations/implications

We identify a new research agenda to revive the focus on public appointments as a tool for intra- and inter-organizational governance in the public sector. Specifically, we argue that how the process of public appointments is managed has huge democratic implications, and public managers have a key role to play in that respect by designing effective governance systems and organizational procedures. The selection of papers has been limited to articles published in peer- review journals ranked in the 2018 CABS Guide; no distinctions have been made regarding journals' positioning in the ranking. Moreover, this work takes a managerial and organizational approach, while the research on public appointments is clearly interdisciplinary, with previous contributions coming mainly from political scientists.


Despite the relevant body of literature on this topic, this study represents the first manuscript to summarize the state of the art of this theme, providing a research agenda on this very relevant but quite neglected issue in public governance.



Cocciasecca, S., Grossi, G. and Sancino, A. (2021), "Public appointments as a tool for public governance: a systematic literature review", International Journal of Public Sector Management, Vol. 34 No. 2, pp. 171-188.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles