Public Credibility (ebook)A Study of the Preferred Personal Qualities of Cabinet Ministers in the Netherlands Eva Wisse


This dissertation shows which qualities Dutch citizens look for in cabinet ministers, and how cabinet ministers in the Netherlands have gained and lost public credibility (“geloofwaardigheid”) between 2007 and 2010.

Four quantitative surveys and five in-depth case studies reveal requirements that can give or take away the public credibility of cabinet ministers. Dutch citizens prefer professional qualities such as reliability, honesty and competence. They are less impressed with qualities such as being inspiring, ambitious, fair-minded, intelligent, cooperative or straightforward. To succeed as a cabinet minister in a media-dominated political environment, having a good communications advisor may be more important than having a good policy advisor, because even though Dutch citizens value reliability, honesty and competence more than anything, they cannot determine directly whether a cabinet minister truly is reliable, honest and competent. How a cabinet minister performs behind the scenes remains largely unclear to citizens. Therefore, being reliable and competent is not enough, one has to appear it. This dissertation offers clues on how this is being done.







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