Task complexity, organization size, and administrative intensity: The case of UK universities

Rhys Andrews, George A. Boyne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Citations (Scopus)


The task complexity and size of public service organizations are arguably key determinants of the proportion of resources devoted to administration. Moreover, the combined effect of these two variables is also likely to have important implications for the scale of the administrative function. To explore the separate and combined effects of task complexity and size on administrative intensity in public service organizations, we examine the determinants of the relative proportion of resources allocated to central administration rather than academic departments in UK universities between 2003 and 2008. The results suggest that there is a non-linear U-shaped impact of both task complexity and size on administrative intensity, and that in combination these characteristics lead to a bigger central administrative component in universities. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)656-672
Number of pages17
JournalPublic Administration
Issue number3
Early online date30 Apr 2014
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2014


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration

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