Under what conditions does bureaucracy matter in the making of global public policies?
2023, Ege, Jörn, Bauer, Michael W., Wagner, Nora, Thomann, Eva
This study investigates how configurations of bureaucratic autonomy, policy complexity and political contestation allow international public administrations (IPAs) to influence policymaking within international organizations. A fuzzy-set Qualitative Comparative Analysis of 17 policy decisions in four organizations (FAO, WHO, ILO, UNESCO) shows that all IPAs studied can be influential in favorable contexts. When policies are both contested and complex, even IPAs lacking autonomy can influence policy. If either complexity or contestation is absent, however, it is the variant of autonomy of will that helps the IPA exploit procedural strategies of influence. Low autonomy of will, among other factors, explains why IPAs cannot exert influence. Conversely, the variant of autonomy of action appears largely irrelevant. The study provides new insights into the role of bureaucracy beyond the state, exemplifying how research of bureaucratic influence can yield more systematic results in various empirical settings.
Improving Generalizability in Transnational Bureaucratic Influence Research : A (Modest) Proposal
2020-09-01, Ege, Jörn, Bauer, Michael W., Wagner, Nora
An impressive amount of evidence has been collected underpinning the importance of international public administrations (i.e., the secretariats of international governmental organizations) in a variety of policy areas, actor configurations, and multilevel political contexts. However, the problem of how to systematically observe and explain bureaucratic influence still lies at the core of the research puzzles that scholars presently attempt to solve. While acknowledging the achievements of recent research efforts, we argue that it is no coincidence that the results remain rather scattered and disconnected—as no consensus has been reached about how bureaucratic influence beyond nation states might be reasonably defined or reliably observed and how the individual insights gained could feed into the construction of a more general theory of bureaucratic influence in transnational governance. Based on a review of the literature, the essay describes what we see as the characteristic pitfalls of current research and presents two modest proposals on how the underlying challenges can be addressed. We first suggest defining the target of influence in terms of a particular policy and second advocate the inclusion of bureaucratic policy preferences into the influence concept. In order to help researchers to observe and compare policy influence across IPAs, we present a simple heuristic measurement scheme, which, if systematically applied, may help overcome the central ailment of recent influence studies. We demonstrate the applicability of the scheme by means of two empirical illustrations. The argument is that in the absence of a comprehensive descriptive, let alone analytical, theory of bureaucratic influence in transnational policymaking, our proposal may help to boost the accumulative potential of current research in the area.
The European Commission in Turbulent Times : Assessing Organizational Change and Policy Impact
2018, Ege, Jörn, Bauer, Michael W., Becker, Stefan, Bauer, Michael W., Ege, Jörn, Becker, Stefan
The European Union is going through turbulent times. The aftermath of the eurozone crisis, the challenges posed by increasing migration and the Brexit negotiations are just some of the recent challenges that have threatened the future of the Union. It is against this background that this volume brings together contributions by a variety of scholars from different academic disciplines. Focusing on the role of the Commission within the institutional system of the EU, its internal structures and processes as well as its policymaking and implementation activities, this book addresses some of the most pressing empirical and theoretical questions that have surrounded the Commission in recent years. While the last decade has intensified the challenges faced by this institution, this book’s main contention is that the Commission’s central position has partly endured as a result of deliberate decisions made by the EU’s member states, and partly through the Commission’s own activism.
A Public Administration Perspective on International Organizations
2017, Bauer, Michael W., Eckhard, Steffen, Ege, Jörn, Knill, Christoph
This is a book on international public administration (IPA). The introductory chapter sets the stage by defining international bureaucracy as an object of scientific inquiry. It is explained why it matters, what questions preceding studies on the phenomenon have been raised, and why there is a research gap both from the perspective of Public Administration (PA) and International Relations research. The chapter further introduces the contours of a PA perspective on international organizations as pursued by this book and briefly summarizes the central conceptual perspectives on IPAs as outlined by the volume’s contributions.
Avoiding disciplinary garbage cans : a pledge for a problem-driven approach to researching international public administration
2022-07-03, Ege, Jörn, Bauer, Michael W., Bayerlein, Louisa, Eckhard, Steffen, Knill, Christoph
In this article, we distinguish two approaches to studying international public administrations (IPAs). On the one hand, there is a line of research that is grounded in traditional Public Administration (PA) and seeks to understand IPAs through established disciplinary lenses. On the other hand, scholars conceive IPAs as posing new problems and questions and are trying to integrate the standpoints of their respective disciplines into a broader research agenda. We argue that both perspectives have their merits – and limitations. However, the more IPAs are understood as phenomena heralding the emergence of transnationalized political systems, the less traditional PA toolkits appear able to capture the innovative aspects IPAs may hold. This essay thus argues for keeping IPA research as a field of study open, integrative and mixed – to encourage out of the box thinking and innovation, rather than stifle it.
The Challenge of Administrative Internationalization : Taking Stock and Looking Ahead
2019, Bauer, Michael W., Ege, Jörn, Schomaker, Rahel
The study of the processes and effects of internationalization has become a major field of inquiry in the social sciences. This article takes stock of corresponding research efforts in the field of public administration (PA) to understand the internationalization phenomenon by analyzing studies that were systematically sampled from major PA journals over recent decades. After delineating, sampling, categorizing, and subsequently examining the scholarly production of PA regarding what can be understood as the internationalization of domestic PA, three major themes of PA-related debates are identified: diffusion, resistance, and the transformation of bureaucratic power. The article concludes that PA has developed neither genuine research questions nor a coherent theoretical framework able to come to grips with the internationalization challenge. It ends with an appeal for PA to become aware of this deficit and recommends PA scholars liaise more intensively with other social sciences to overcome the current state of affairs.
How Financial Resources Affect the Autonomy of International Public Administrations
2017, Ege, Jörn, Bauer, Michael W.
Voluntary contributions – often earmarked for specific purposes – have become an indispensable source of revenue for international organizations (IOs) and the UN organizations in particular. While the reasons for this trend are regularly studied, its effects on the internal functioning of the organization (especially on the ‘international public administration’ (IPA) as the organization's secretariat) remain unclear. Given this gap, we study the consequences of increasing financial dependence for the autonomy of IPA staff. Using financial and personnel data of 15 UN agencies over time, our results are in line with the intuitive expectation that more financial resources in the form of voluntary contributions increase the number of staff. We also find evidence, however, that the more an organization depends on voluntary resources (within its broader financial portfolio), the more it reduces the ratio of permanent staff among its total workforce in the subsequent years. The underlying adaption of IPAs’ recruitment and career structures to growing financial insecurities has important implications for the autonomy of international bureaucrats and needs to be considered also in terms of its long-term impact on administrative professionalism and organizational performance.
How do international bureaucrats affect policy outputs? : Studying administrative influence strategies in international organizations
2021, Ege, Jörn, Bauer, Michael W., Wagner, Nora
The article investigates how international public administrations, as corporate actors, influence policymaking within international organizations. Starting from a conception of international organizations as political-administrative systems, we theorize the strategies international bureaucrats may use to affect international organizations’ policies and the conditions under which these strategies vary. Building on a most-likely case design, we use process tracing to study two cases of bureaucratic influence: the influence of the secretariat of the World Health Organization on the “Global action plan for the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases”; and the influence of the International Labour Office on the “Resolution concerning decent work in global supply chains”. We use interview material gathered from international public administration staff and stakeholders to illustrate varying influence strategies and the conditions under which these strategies are used. The study shows how and when international public administrations exert policy influence, and offers new opportunities to extend the generalizability of public administration theories.
Konzeptualisierung und Vergleich der Autonomie internationaler Verwaltungen
2017, Bauer, Michael W., Ege, Jörn, Wagner, Nora
Wird eine verwaltungswissenschaftliche Perspektive für die Analyse von internationalen Organisationen fruchtbar gemacht, kann als Ausgangspunkt die Annahme dienen, dass die Leistungsfähigkeit internationaler Organisationen mit der Qualität ihrer internen Organisationsstrukturen sowie personellen und sachlichen Ressourcen zusammenhängt. Bisher gibt es aber kaum verwaltungswissenschaftliche Studien, die sich systematisch-vergleichend mit internationalen Organisationen und ihren Verwaltungsstäben auseinandersetzen. Dabei gilt, dass je mehr internationale Organisationen mit Policy-Gestaltungsaufgaben betraut werden, sich desto drängender Fragen nach deren politisch-administrativer Führung, demokratischer Legitimation und nach der Verselbständigung ihrer Verwaltungsstäbe stellen. Hier setzt der vorliegende Beitrag an. Es wird ausgelotet, ob und mit welchem analytischen Gewinn das klassische Konzept der Verwaltungsautonomie auf die Verwaltungsstäbe internationaler Organisationen übertragen werden kann. In einem ersten Schritt werden dazu die theoretischen Grundlagen der Autonomie von Verwaltungen diskutiert und, darauf aufbauend, ein Vorschlag entwickelt, wie die Autonomie internationaler Verwaltungsstäbe angemessen konzeptualisiert werden kann. In einem zweiten Schritt wird dann die Verwaltungsautonomie für 20 internationalen Organisationen operationalisiert und präsentiert, sowie anhand der Autonomiewerte zweier Verwaltungen illustriert, inwieweit die Ergebnisse geeignet sind, um Aussagen über die konkreten administrativen Gestaltungsmöglichkeiten internationaler Verwaltungen zu machen.