Skip to main content
School of Business and Management

Explaining Algorithmic Discretion in the Public Sector: The Role of Resistance Bias and Administrative Discretion

When: Thursday, October 6, 2022, 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Where: Online, Zoom

Algorithms are disrupting established practices of decision-making in public administration. One of the main debates about their impact centres on algorithmic discretion or how public officials exercise discretion via the use of algorithmic technologies. We develop a research model to conceptualise algorithmic discretion by drawing on status-quo bias theory and administrative discretion. A survey with police officers in the UK (n=260) shows that – more than fear of loss of discretion – it is resistance to algorithms that determines perceptions of algorithmic discretion. In turn, resistance to algorithms is primarily explained by transition costs, loss aversion and performance uncertainty. The study contributes to our understanding of algorithmisation and its interpretation by public sector employees. More broadly, it informs on sources of resistance bias to algorithmic technologies and how systems can embed more engaging features to overcome them.


Muhammad Afzal is a final year PhD researcher and senior police officer in Pakistan. He completed a Masters in Public Administration at the School of Business and Management. 

Panos Panagiotopoulos is a Senior Lecturer in Information Management and Associate Editor for Government Information Quarterly.

Joining instructions

This meeting will be held on Teams. Click here to join the meeting.

Meeting ID: 387 033 752 221
Passcode: zTEz2w

Back to top