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 3: Key Processes: Peer Reviews, Roundtables and Budgets

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


This chapter seeks to describe and assess several of the key processes of the OECD as it stood in 2010. It builds upon assessment in Chapter 2 of the OECD’s organisational design and focuses on the processes of peer review, the processes associated with the increasing use of ‘roundtables’, and its integrated budget and work programme (PWB). Each of these three processes has evolved over time, with, for example, its well-known process of ‘peer review’ inherited from the OEEC. PEER REVIEW At the heart of the OECD lies the system of peer review, defined as an examination of one state’s performance or practices in a particular area by other states. These provide both a means of subjecting the policies of member states to critical scrutiny – a ‘quality assurance’ check – and a means of identifying and sharing best practice among the membership (and beyond). The process places as much emphasis on the ‘peer’ as the ‘review’, because it reflects the fact that the OECD is an intergovernmental organisation, rather than an international organisation. The involvement of peers (other members) in the conduct of the review means that it involves equals, rather than a superior body that will hand down judgement or prescribe punishment. This is central to their value, because a state is more willing to accept criticism, and other members to give it, if all parties know it does not commit them to a particular position or course of action. Peer reviews can help encourage dialogue that helps clarify positions...

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