Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) in Public Administration
2019, Thomann, Eva, Ege, Jörn
Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) is increasingly establishing itself as a method in social research. QCA is a set-theoretic, truth-table-based method that identifies complex combinations of conditions (configurations) that are necessary and/or sufficient for an outcome. An advantage of QCA is that it models the complexity of social phenomena by accounting for conjunctural, asymmetric, and equifinal patterns. Accordingly, the method does not assume isolated net effects of single variables but recognizes that the effect of a single condition (that is, an explanatory factor) often unfolds only in combination with other conditions. Moreover, QCA acknowledges that the occurrence of a phenomenon can have a different explanation from its non-occurrence. Finally, QCA allows for different, mutually non-exclusive explanations of the same phenomenon. QCA is not only a technique; there is a diversity of approaches to how it can be implemented before, during and after the “technical moment,” depending on the analytic goals related to contributing to theory, engaging with cases, and the approach to explanation. Particularly since 2012, an increasing number of scholars have turned to using QCA to investigate public administrations. Even though the boundaries of Public Administration (PA) as an academic discipline are difficult to determine, it can be defined as an intellectual forum for those who want to understand both public administrations as organizations and their relationships to political, economic, and societal actors—especially in the adoption and implementation of public policies. Owing to its fragmented nature, there has been a long-lasting debate about the methodological sophistication and appropriateness of different comparative methods. In particular, the high complexity and strong context dependencies of causal patterns challenge theory-building and empirical analysis in Public Administration. Moreover, administrative settings are often characterized by relatively low numbers of cases for comparison, as well as strongly multilevel empirical settings. QCA as a technique allows for context-sensitive analyses that take into account this complexity. Against this background, it is not surprising that applications of QCA have become more widespread among scholars of Public Administration. A systematic review of articles using QCA published in the major Public Administration journals shows that the use of QCA started in mid-2000s and then grew exponentially. The review shows that, especially in two thematic areas, QCA has high analytical value and may (alongside traditional methodological approaches) help improve theories and methods of PA. The first area is the study of organizational decision-making and the role of bureaucrats during the adoption and implementation of public policies and service delivery. The second area where QCA has great merits is in explaining different features of public organizations. Especially in evaluation research where the aim is to investigate performance of various kinds (especially effectiveness in terms of both policy and management), QCA is a useful analytical tool to model these highly context-dependent relationships. The QCA method is constantly evolving. The development of good practices for different QCA approaches as well as several methodological innovations and software improvements increases its potential benefits for the future of Public Administration research.
Comparing the autonomy of international public administrations : An ideal-type approach
2017, Ege, Jörn
International Public Administrations (IPAs), that is, the secretariats of international organizations, are important actors in global governance. This article develops a new typology of IPAs that captures the potential influence of these bureaucratic bodies on international policy-making. The main argument is that when conceptualizing the varying roles and potential policy impact of IPAs, it is useful to distinguish between their ability to develop autonomous preferences (autonomy of will) on the one hand, and their capacity to transform these preferences into action (autonomy of action) on the other. Based on this premise, the article introduces four distinct ideal-types of international bureaucracies and suggests indicators to locate a diverse sample of 20 administrations within the four-fold typology. The results reveal the empirical diversity of IPA autonomy and allow for a first empirical assessment of the factors behind this pattern.
International bureaucracies and their influence on policy-making : a review of empirical evidence
2016-08-08, Eckhard, Steffen, Ege, Jörn
Although we find considerable literature on international organizations and their bureaucratic interior, there has been little effort to systematically synthesize empirical research across the different academic disciplines examining how international bureaucracies affect policy-making at an international level. This contribution reviews existing research on the policy influence of international bureaucracies published during the past 50 years. Applying a keyword-based search strategy allows us to identify a core body of 83 books and articles. We find a general consensus in the literature that international bureaucrats do influence policy-making, though this influence varies with the political salience and scope of the decision at question. Yet there is still much disagreement about other context factors, including mechanisms and behavioural assumptions. The contribution advances the state of the art by extracting major disputes – mostly linked to diverging disciplinary perspectives – and existing gaps in the literature, and by suggesting areas for future research.
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.
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.
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.
Learning from the Commission case : The comparative study of management change in international public administrations
2019, Ege, Jörn
Despite the growing importance attributed to organizational performance in global governance, management change in international public administrations (IPAs) is still poorly understood. In particular, the lack of comparative analyses that cover a broader range of management areas limits our descriptive knowledge about the direction and intensity of management change in IPAs. Without such knowledge, however, refining existing theories about the causes and consequences of change is difficult. Based on the reforms of the European Commission, the article reviews available studies about managerial change in IPAs to identify pertinent topics, available knowledge and gaps in the literature. Aiming to narrow these gaps, empirical data on three IPAs are presented to show in which areas and to what degree the management changed over time in these cases and to illustrate how multi-dimensional managerial change can be studied comparatively in future research more generally.
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.
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.