Over the past two decades, reliance on short-term contracted staff has increased in government institutions across the Western world. This tendency towards contracted government may be strengthened during periods of economic and financial stress. This article therefore poses the following questions: First, does contracted government lead to civil servants less loyal and attentive to the concerns of their government institutions? Secondly, and more generally, what factors shape the behavioural perceptions of contracted government staff? Benefiting from a new, full-scale survey among seconded national experts in the European Commission, this study shows that contracted Commission staff are largely integrated and committed to the Commission and its administrative sub-units. The general lesson learned is that when under contract, contracted personnel seem mainly loyal and attentive to the concerns of the government institution under which they formally serve. This finding dispels fears that contracted government officials may serve several masters. Theoretically, the behavioural perceptions of contracted Commission officials are explained with reference to their primary organisational affiliation towards the Commission and its sub-units, as well as by the internal organisational composition of the Commission services.
contracted government executive order European Commission seconded national expert transformation