Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Public Affairs

First Advisor's Name

Meredith Newman

First Advisor's Committee Title

Co-Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Mohamad Alkadry

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Co-Committee Chair

Third Advisor's Name

Susannah Ali

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Nazife Ganapati

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Fifth Advisor's Name

Aya Chacar

Fifth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member


Representative bureaucracy, contracting, supplier diversity

Date of Defense



Government organizations have struggled to balance democratic values of inclusiveness and equity with an efficient and effective bureaucracy since the early years of the administrative state. A representative bureaucracy offers a solution where effective and efficient public service delivery can be achieved while reflecting the interests of historically underrepresented social groups in policy decisions. The theory of representative bureaucracy states that organizational actors that share characteristics with constituents are more likely to respond to their interests through policies and implementation activities. Employing a mixed methodology, this study examines whether and how representativeness of local government decision-makers affects contracting policy implementation by assessing the degree of supplier diversity of local governments. Supplier diversity contracting policies aim to enhance access, limit discrimination, correct historical injustices, and empower traditionally underserved populations.

This study contributes to the broader understanding of representative bureaucracy in the local government contracting environment and yields actionable recommendations for public managers. The contracting environment is often driven by efficiency and guided by legal stipulations. The results of this study demonstrate that even while operating within the constraints of this environment, minority representation at the street level is related to active implementation. Additionally, street level bureaucrats who assume a minority representative role are more likely to have greater motivation for supplier diversity. Elected officials also have an important role driving supplier diversity from the top. However, this is a product of the political nature of contracting decisions where the push from elected officials is likely an effort to be responsive to their constituents.







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