Egocentrism, self-esteem & policy learning

ICPP4On June 28th 2019, I presented my research at the 4th International Conference on Public Policy (Concordia University, Montreal, 26th-28th June 2019). Basically, I show that psychological patterns such as egocentrism can hamper knowledge assimilation by individual policy actors. This finding has important implications for social practices and institutional settings susceptible to model policy learning effectively as well as for evidence-based policy-making and brings original insights into the individual psychology of policy learning within the advocacy coalition framework.

Link towards the paper: please click here

Abstract of the paper: Policy learning is the mechanism through which actors involved in a policy subsystem revise their beliefs and preferences toward a policy over time – a crucial dynamic of stability or change of public policies. While the social dimension of this dynamic has been extensively researched, the individual psychology of policy learning remains a black box. Yet, this is a key missing link between policy learning and settings or practices that could model it. This paper addresses this research program by looking at two mental constructs susceptible to encourage policy actors to stick to their own point of view rather than to assimilate new policy information: egocentrism and self-esteem.

The test of the hypotheses is based on regression analyses of a survey conducted in 2012 among 289 Belgian policy actors who had been involved, during the last two decades, in the European liberalization policy process of two network industries: the rail and electricity sectors. The findings are threefold. First, rational knowledge utilization remains a stronger cognitive dynamic of information processing than egocentrism and self-esteem. Second, still, egocentrism is not only a source of biased assimilation of policy information: it also directly induces a less positive alignment of policy actors’ preferences toward liberalization over time. Third, the results fail to confirm my theoretical expectations about the relation between self-esteem and policy learning. The theoretical and practical implications of these results are discussed.

French-speaking seminar: ‘Réaliser une revue systématique de la littérature’

Quels sont les objectifs d’une revue de la littérature ?
Comment rendre ma revue ‘systématique’ ?
Quelle est la différence avec une ‘méta-analyse’ ?
Comment m’y prendre concrètement ?
Quelles sont les forces et les faiblesses d’une revue systématique ?
Comment articuler les résultats de ma revue avec ma recherche ?
Puis-je publier ma revue dans un journal scientifique et comment ?


Le séminaire traite de ces questions au travers de la présentation de Prisma, une méthode de revue systématique de la littérature. Il en expose les objectifs, les principes, les modalités concrètes de mise en oeuvre, ainsi que les atouts et les difficultés.

Le séminaire se compose de deux sessions. Une première demi-journée est consacrée à la présentation de Prisma, en s’appuyant notamment sur l’utilisation de cette méthode par plusieurs chercheurs de l’Institut de Sciences Politiques Louvain-Europe (ISPOLE) de l’Université catholique de Louvain (UCL), ainsi que sur des exemples tirés de la littérature scientifique. Lors de la seconde journée, les participants du séminaire seront invités, s’ils le souhaitent, à présenter les résultats intermédiaires de leur revue systématique de littérature ainsi que les difficultés éventuelles qu’ils rencontrent dans la réalisation de cet exercice. Ces résultats et difficultés seront discutés en séance.

Pour qui ?
Ouvert à tous les chercheurs en sciences politiques et sociales

Par qui ?
Dr. Stéphane Moyson, Chargé de cours en administration publique à l’Institut de Sciences Politiques Louvain-Europe de l’Université catholique de Louvain

Où ?
Aux Ateliers des Fucam (2 Rue des Soeurs Noires, 7000 Mons, Belgique).
Accessible à pied depuis la gare de Mons ; possibilité de parking.
Web :

Quand ?
1ère séance : 8 novembre 2017 de 14h à 17h30
2ème séance : 7 février 2018 de 10h à 16h

Comment ?
Inscription gratuite mais obligatoire auprès de au plus tard le 27 octobre 2017. Possibilité de s’inscrire uniquement à la première demi-journée. Lunch inclus le 7 février 2018 mais pas le 8 novembre 2017.

Plus d’info ?

Avec le soutien de l’Ecole Doctorale Thématique en Science Politique


Lien vers l’annonce du séminaire

The dynamic of policy processes on hydraulic fracturing: Presentation of the project at IMéRA


In March 2017, Sébastien Chailleux and I presented our projet about the dynamic of policy processes on hydraulic fracturing at the Institut d’Etudes Avancées (IMéRA – Aix-Marseille Université, France).

You can find the synthesis of this presentation here (in French):

Page of the project:

New article – Organizational Socialization in Public Administration Research : A Systematic Review and Directions for Future Research

An article published by Stéphane Moyson (Université catholique de Louvain), Nadine Raaphorst (Erasmus University Rotterdam), Sandra Groeneveld (Leiden University), and Steven Van de Walle (KULeuven) in the American Review of Public Administration.


Abstract :

Using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) approach, we conducted a systematic review of 58 public administration studies of organizational socialization. Organizational socialization is the process of mutual adaptation between an organization and its new members. Our findings demonstrate a growing but geographically disparate interest in this issue. Public administration studies contribute to this research area with novel insights into the determinants of organizational socialization and its effects on employees’ public service motivation, Eurocrats’ support of supranational institutions, person–organization fit, and differences in the socialization of male and female public employees. The review also shows that the effects of organizational socialization on the homogenization of employees’ attitudes should not be exaggerated, especially relative to other homogenizing factors such as attraction or selection effects. The reviewed articles are methodologically eclectic, with a recent but growing interest in longitudinal designs. There are also weaknesses in the operationalization of organizational socialization. We conclude with an agenda for future studies on organizational socialization in public administration research.


Link toward the preprint :

Link toward the publication :

PSI-Co – Public-Sector Innovation through Collaboration (2016-2020)

Description of the research

Nowadays, Public Sector Innovation (PSI) is high on government agendas across OECD countries. Confronted with major budgetary pressures and grand societal challenges, governments worldwide experience a need to step beyond conventional wisdoms and sedimented practices. Innovations refer not only to qualitatively changing the form, content, and repertoire of goods, services (service innovations), but also to transforming the underlying problem understanding, policy objective and program theory (policy innovations) (Sorensen and Torfing, 2011).
Public sector innovation literature increasingly asserts that the ability of public organisations to engage and set-up collaborative interaction within and across governmental levels and with societal actors determines their innovative capacity. Government can set up collaborative governance arrangements by engaging in (a) transversal coordination and collaboration with other departments and agencies within government as well as across governments. Government can also engage (b) individual citizens, (for profit and non-profit) organisations and organized interests through co-production or other forms of participation.
Despite the growing awareness of the need for collaboration, there is a lack of knowledge about how such collaborative governance arrangements results in meaningful innovations regarding policies and services, and how different forms of collaborative governance interact and reinforce each other. Also it is unclear what organisational and individual conditions need to be present within administration to foster collaborative governance arrangements. This project will address this research gap by conducting a multi method study on collaborative innovation, studying both (a) how collaborative governance can foster innovation, and (b) by what conditions, in turn, collaborative innovation is supported. The project uses multiple methods to address these questions, combining (1) a multiple case study phase, (2) a validation phase (Delphi and international validation), (3) a design-phase with two test cases, using Living Lab methodology and (4) a gap-analysis phase, using quantitative survey data, and (5) this in an international comparative set-up. Figure 1 shows the set-up of the project. The research will be conducted on collaborative arrangements among administrations/agencies of the Belgian federal government.



Description of the project

The project is supervised by Profs. Drs. Koen Verhoest (University of Antwerp, General coordinator), Trui Steen (KU Leuven), Catherine Fallon (University of Liège), as well as David Aubin and myself (Université catholique de Louvain). The project is conducted by Tom Langbroek (University of Antwerp), Charlotte Van Dijck (University of leuven) and Céline riche (Université catholique de Louvain). David Aubin and I act as cosupervisors of Cécile’s PhD project (click here for more info).

The project is funded by the Brain-Be program of Belspo – the Belgian Research Action Through Interdisciplinary Networks of the Federal Public Planning Service Science Policy.


The dynamic of policy processes on hydraulic fracturing: An international comparative research project (2017-2020)

Outline of the research

I am involved in an internatio220px-barnettshaledrilling-9323nal comparative research project on the dynamic of policy processes on hydraulic fracturing. Theoretically speaking, the research mainly relies on the Advocacy Coalition Framework (ACF). Following previous research efforts but based on eclectic methods, the newspapers of several countries concerned with the extraction of shale gas/oil are coded according to a common coding grid. This research is innovative in that it is one of the rare ACF-based projects using a common methodological framework across several national or subnational cases. The results will allow the examination of the attitudes and behaviour of policy actors, dynamics of advocacy coalitions and resulting policy changes in the different cases. This project will lead to theoretical advances on the contextual factors of policy processes as well as a better understanding of the differences in policies on hydraulic fracturing around the world.


Description of the project

This project is led by Profs. Drs. Christopher Weible and Tanya Heikkila (University of Colorado Denver). Together with Prof. Dr. David Aubin (Université catholique de Louvain), I am responsible for the French case. The team is also composed of Bastien Fievet and Maximilien Plancq, master students in public administration and trainees at the Institut de Sciences Politiques Louvain-Europe. The French case is also cosupervised by Dr. Sébastien Chailleux (Université de Bordeaux).

At the Université catholique de Louvain, the project is supported by the ‘Fonds d’appui à l’internationalisation’.


Outputs of the project

March 2017 – Presentation of the project at the Institut d’Etudes Avancées (Aix-Marseille Université, France)

Nouvel article dans La Libre Belgique – Les décideurs publics sont-ils animés par leurs propres intérêts?

L’Université catholique de Louvain vient de sortir une étude qui met en lumière l’impact des intérêts matériels des décideurs publics sur leurs décisions. Les résultats vont à contre-courant de ce que laissent penser les récentes “affaires”.


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