Together forever? The relation between (dis)similar demographics in politico-administrative relationships and executive turnover

Caroline Howard Grøn, Niels Opstrup, Heidi Houlberg Salomonsen, Anders Ryom Villadsen

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Turnover among top executives in government organizations warrants our research interest because of their importance for executive politics, public policy, and the management and performance of public organizations. Whereas the literature so far has primarily studied political, organizational and individual antecedents of turnover, we focus on the relational level. Based on homosocial reproduction, relational demography and social identify theory, we hypothesize that demographic similarities between senior executives and their political counterparts influence executive turnover. Using longitudinal register data of Danish mayors and chief administrative officers (CAOs), our results suggest that gender dissimilarity (specifically, a male mayor and a female CAO) increases the risk of CAO turnover. Similarly, the risk of CAO turnover is higher when the CAO is older than the mayor. Contrary to expectations, however, differences in education reduces turnover risk (specifically when the CAO has more education than the mayor). Our study illustrates the relevance of understanding turnover as a relational phenomenon based on factors beyond rational, political, and functional explanations.
TidsskriftInternational Public Management Journal
Udgave nummer6
Sider (fra-til)962-979
StatusUdgivet - 2022


  • Executive Turnover
  • Local Government
  • Demographic Similarities