Handbook on Theories of Governance
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Handbook on Theories of Governance

Edited by Christopher Ansell and Jacob Torfing

In the past two decades, governance theories have arisen semi-independently across multiple disciplines. In law and regulation, planning, democratic theory, economics, public management, and international relations, among other disciplines, scholars have sought to describe new strategies of governing. As a result, the notion of governance is now one of the most frequently used social science concepts in the world. No single theory encompasses this diverse body of work, but rather multiple theories with different aims and perspectives. The Handbook on Theories of Governance collects these theories of governance together as an analytical resource for governing in an increasingly complex, fragmented and dynamic society.
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Chapter 2: Organization theory

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.

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