Organizing Democracy
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Organizing Democracy

The Construction of Agency in Practice

Edited by Göran Sundström, Linda Soneryd and Staffan Furusten

This fresh and fascinating book adds an organizational perspective to the analysis of governance and democracy. It argues that a number of organizational factors challenge the notion of agency assumed by a governance model.
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Chapter 9: Democratic Values and the Organizing of Actors in Governance Structures

Linda Soneryd, Staffan Furusten and Göran Sundström


Linda Soneryd, Staffan Furusten and Göran Sundström This book has addressed two questions. How are democratic values attended to in governance structures? And why is this done in a particular way? We argue that a number of organizational factors challenge the notion of agency assumed by a governance model. The governance model rests on the rational myth (Meyer and Rowan, 1977) and the assumption that democratic ideals can be translated to specified democratic values, which in turn can be adhered to by democratic agents. The model suggests that democratic ideals will be realized if these agents play their cards right. In contrast to this rational model, we argue that theories about organizing and the construction of agency can be used to explain how and why democratic values are attended to in governance structures. As we stated in Chapter 1, we have undertaken this task by focusing on a number of processes related to various policy fields in which governance ideas have been used as overall organizing principles. The processes were chosen because we expected certain democratic values to be regarded as problematic in governance structures. We also expected these cases to represent situations in which organizations were required to balance conflicting values in their performances. We expected the cases to be relevant, not only in their local settings, but also as representations of typical processes of organizing in the modern organizations of the Western world. As discussed in Chapter 1, responsibility for the realization of democratic values in...

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