Political appointees in executive government have received increased scholarly attention in recent years. However, few studies have covered non-Westminster systems, and apart from classifications that systemize variation in assignments, theorizing about appointees has been limited. Using large-N survey data, the article finds three distinct roles among political appointees in Norway: ‘stand in’, ‘media adviser’ and ‘political coordinator’. The article then combines insights from research on political appointees with insights from core executive studies (CES) to explain why political appointees perform one role or another. The empirical results support the notion that roles of appointees within the core executive depend on where they sit, supporting the asymmetric power model within CES. The results also show that appointees' roles within the executive depend on their personal experience, supporting the notion of a resource exchange between ministers and their appointees in the mould of the resource-dependency perspective within CES.
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