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Jarle Trondal

The introductory chapter offers first a terminological overview of the key concepts of the book, followed by a discussion of the research agenda and the conceptual map that guides this volume. The chapter ends with an overview of the chapters of the volume. The key concepts of the book are (i) order suggests a relatively stable arrangement of institutions that are fairly formalized and institutionalized with respect to who does what, when and how; (ii) political suggests that these institutions are entitled and able to (contribute to) initiate, decide and implement public policy; and (iii) Common suggests that these political institutions fulfil at least three criteria: (a) they are fairly independent of pre-existing institutions, (b) they are relatively integrated and cohesive internally and not fragmented and loosely coupled, and (c) they are reasonably able to influence and challenge political processes within other political institutions – thus making the order into a common ‘one’.

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Jarle Trondal

Chapter 2 offers a state-of-the-art review of existing research on international administration and a research agenda for this field of scholarship. As an area of research, specifying crucial conditions under which international public administration (IPA) may enjoy independence from member-state governments has become an increasingly vibrant research area. This chapter discusses three yet unresolved research tasks: (i) systematically comparing IPAs by offering large-N data across cases; (ii) taking organization seriously by identifying how the organizational architectures of IPAs affect decision-making processes and subsequently the pursuit of public policy making; and finally (iii) examining the varied consequences of the autonomization of IPAs, notably for member-state public sector governance and for the integration of transnational regulatory regimes.

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Jarle Trondal

Chapter 3 identifies how IPAs in practice may operate relatively independently from member-state governments, even when embedded in de jure intergovernmental international organizations, and even when operating in policy areas subject to tight member-state control. The case study presented is the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Studying bureaucratic independence at the actor level, this chapter demonstrates that IAEA officials enjoy behavioural independence and that this actor-level independence is considerably contingent on how the IAEA secretariat is internally organized. This pattern is accounted for by applying an organization theory approach. The study thus illustrates secretary activism within formally intergovernmental organizations, but also the limitations and conditions thereof.

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Jarle Trondal

Chapter 4 examines the rise of independent supranational administration with the case of the European Union (EU) administration. Throughout its history the EU system has faced shifting, hostile and uncertain environments, and responded by erecting turbulent organizational solutions of various kinds. This chapter discusses some key features of this development and the ensuing consequences for the independence of the Commission administration. This also opens up an opportunity to rethink governance in nascent administrative systems, which requires research focus towards the supply of administrative capacities beyond the executive centre – notably EU agencies and domestic agencies. The turbulence of the system is discussed by analysing the institutional independence and integration of its parts.

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The Rise of Common Political Order

Institutions, Public Administration and Transnational Space

Edited by Jarle Trondal

The Rise of Common Political Order brings together leading research focusing on the conditions for the formation of common political order in Europe. The book aims to define common political order in conceptual terms, to study instances of order formation at different levels of governance and ultimately to comprehend how they profoundly challenge inherent political orders.
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Jarle Trondal

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Jarle Trondal and Anchrit Wille

One relatively unstudied development in the European Union’s evolving multilayered administrative system is the development of the ombudsman as a core institution of governance. At the national level, nearly all EU Member States have introduced an ombudsman. At the supranational level, there has been a European Ombudsman (EO) since 1995. This chapter sheds light on the strategies with which the EO proves itself able to build its capacity and adjust its institution successfully to the changing politico-administrative context. Drawing on an analysis of documents and a secondary analysis of existing empirical data, this chapter examines the institutional development of the EO over the past two decades. This chapter describes, first, the turbulent expansion of the European Union’s administrative system in terms of both administrative and accountability institutions. It then focuses on the EO’s development as an institutional ombudsman by examining three elements of its accountability capacity, together with the external, turbulent environment and political context in which it exists. The internal turbulence within the system may be seen in both the way the system is set up (administrative order and accountability landscape) and the way it works (accountability practices).

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Torbjörn Larsson and Jarle Trondal

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Morten Egeberg, Åse Gornitzka and Jarle Trondal

The argument outlined in this chapter is that organizational factors (independent variables) might intervene in governance processes (dependent variables) and create a systematic bias, thus making some process characteristics and outputs more likely than others. It is argued that applying organizational theory to governance may be useful in at least two respects. First, it may add new knowledge on how different governance architectures shape governance. Second, it may also add practical value for change. If organizational variables are shown to affect governance processes in particular ways—as suggested in the chapter—these variables may subsequently be “manipulated” to achieve desired goals. In this way, theoretically informed empirical research may serve as an instrumental device. By using governance as dependent variable, the chapter discusses the following organizational variables as independent variables: organizational capacity, organizational specialization, organizational affiliation and organizational coupling. Further, by using organizational structure as dependent variable, four complementary approaches have been introduced to explain organizational change: instrumental problem solving, conflict and bargaining, rule following and learning, and diffusion.