A Study of Organisational Adaptation

Peter Carroll and Aynsley Kellow

The book reveals, for the first time, the origins, growth and complex role of the OECD as it celebrates its fiftieth anniversary, showing how it has adapted – for the most part successfully – to the changing needs of its members, both large and small.

Chapter 2: The OECD Approaching 50

Peter Carroll and Aynsley Kellow

Subjects: economics and finance, international economics, law - academic, international economic law, trade law, politics and public policy, international politics, international relations


In this chapter we describe the aims and organisation of the OECD. As with all international organisations (IOs), the OECD represents a compromise between the desire of its principals, the member states, to maintain the desired level of control of a complex agent, and the desire of the same principals to ensure an effective and efficient organisation. The compromise is given form in its organisational design and organisational procedures, rather than its Convention, which is relatively short, outlining only the broad aims, powers and structure of the OECD, lacking detailed prescription. In the first section we provide an introductory overview of the Organisation’s design. In the following sections we examine in more detail key elements of that design, focusing on the Council, committees, directorates and their staff. ORGANISATIONAL DESIGN: AN OVERVIEW The aims of the OECD as set out in its Convention at Article 1 are to promote policies designed: (a) to achieve the highest sustainable economic growth and employment and a rising standard of living in Member countries, while maintaining financial stability, and thus to contribute to the development of the world economy; to contribute to sound economic expansion in Member as well as nonMember countries in the process of economic development; and to contribute to the expansion of world trade on a multilateral, nondiscriminatory basis in accordance with international obligations. (OECD, 2010i) (b) (c) In order to achieve the aims members agreed (Article 3) that they would: (a) (b) (c) keep each other informed and furnish the Organisation...

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