This article examines government agencies facing choice architectures that are multiple, overlapping, ambiguous, and sometimes incompatible—in short: turbulent. It makes two contributions: First, two conceptual images of agency governance are outlined that derive distinct predictions on how agencies are likely to maneuver when embedded in integrated multilevel administrative orders. Secondly, benefitting from a large‐N dataset on agency officials (N = 1,963) from 47 government agencies, the study suggests that government agencies are primarily biased towards a pragmatist compound dynamic. Additionally, the analysis probes the robustness of these conceptual images by entering moderator variables into the analysis. Multiplicative interaction model analysis suggests that the compound dynamic of agency governance is robust because no moderator variables fundamentally transform relationships from one governance type to another.
Public Administration Review, DOI: 10.1111/puar.13309