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International Bureaucracies as Governance Actors

  • This study assesses and explains international bureaucracies’ performance and role as policy advisors and as expert authorities from the perspective of domestic stakeholders. International bureaucracies are the secretariats of international organizations that carry out their work including generating knowledge, providing policy advice and implementing policy programs and projects. Scholars increasingly regard them as governance actors that are able to influence global and domestic policy making. In order to explain this influence, research has mainly focused on international bureaucracies’ formal features and/or staff characteristics. The way in which they are actually perceived by their domestic stakeholders, in particular by national bureaucrats, has not been systematically studied. Yet, this is equally important, given that they represent international bureaucracies’ addressees and are actors that (potentially) make use of international bureaucracies’ policy advice, which can be seen as an indicator for international bureaucracies’This study assesses and explains international bureaucracies’ performance and role as policy advisors and as expert authorities from the perspective of domestic stakeholders. International bureaucracies are the secretariats of international organizations that carry out their work including generating knowledge, providing policy advice and implementing policy programs and projects. Scholars increasingly regard them as governance actors that are able to influence global and domestic policy making. In order to explain this influence, research has mainly focused on international bureaucracies’ formal features and/or staff characteristics. The way in which they are actually perceived by their domestic stakeholders, in particular by national bureaucrats, has not been systematically studied. Yet, this is equally important, given that they represent international bureaucracies’ addressees and are actors that (potentially) make use of international bureaucracies’ policy advice, which can be seen as an indicator for international bureaucracies’ influence. Accordingly, I argue that domestic stakeholders’ assessments can likewise contribute to explaining international bureaucracies’ influence. The overarching research questions the study addresses are what are national stakeholders’ perspectives on international bureaucracies and under which conditions do they consider international bureaucracies’ policy advice? In answering these questions, I focus on three specific organizational features that the literature has considered important for international bureaucracies’ independent influence, namely international bureaucracies’ performance and their role as policy advisors and as expert authorities. These three features are studied separately in three independent articles, which are presented in Part II of this article-based dissertation. To answer the research questions, I draw on novel data from a global survey among ministry officials of 121 countries. The survey captures ministry officials’ assessments of international bureaucracies’ features and their behavior with respect to international bureaucracies’ policy advice. The overall sample comprises the bureaucracies of nine global and nine regional international organizations in eight thematic areas in the policy fields of agriculture and finance. The overall finding of this study is that international bureaucracies’ performance and their role as policy advisors and expert authorities as perceived by ministry officials are highly context-specific and relational. These features vary not only across international bureaucracies but much more intra-organizationally across the different thematic areas that an international bureaucracy addresses, i.e. across different thematic contexts. As far as to the relational nature of international bureaucracies’ features, the study generally finds strong variation across the assessments by ministry officials from different countries and across thematic areas. Hence, the findings highlight that it is likewise important to study international bureaucracies via the perspective of their stakeholders and to take account of the different thematic areas and contexts in which international bureaucracies operate. The study contributes to current research on international bureaucracies in various ways. First, it directly surveys one important type of domestic stakeholders, namely national ministry officials, as to how they evaluate certain aspects of international bureaucracies instead of deriving them from their structural features, policy documents or assessments by their staff. Furthermore, the study empirically tests a range of theoretical hypotheses derived from the literature on international bureaucracies’ influence, as well as related literature. Second, the study advances methods of assessing international bureaucracies through a large-N, cross-national expert survey among ministry officials. A survey of this type of stakeholder and of this scope is – to my knowledge – unprecedented. Yet, as argued above, their perspectives are equally important for assessing and explaining international bureaucracies’ influence. Third, the study adapts common theories of international bureaucracies’ policy influence and expert authority to the assessments by ministry officials. In so doing, it tests hypotheses that are rooted in both rationalist and constructivist accounts and combines perspectives on international bureaucracies from both International Relations and Public Administration. Empirically supporting and challenging these hypotheses further complements the theoretical understanding of the determinants of international bureaucracies’ influence among national bureaucracies from both rationalist and constructivist perspectives. Overall, this study advances our understanding of international bureaucracies by systematically taking into account ministry officials’ perspectives in order to determine under which conditions international bureaucracies are perceived to perform well and are able to have an effect as policy advisors and expert authorities among national bureaucracies. Thereby, the study helps to specify to what extent international bureaucracies – as global governance actors – are able to permeate domestic governance via ministry officials and, thus, contribute to the question of why some international bureaucracies play a greater role and are ultimately able to have more influence than others.show moreshow less

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Metadaten
Author details:Jana HeroldORCiDGND
Subtitle (English):an assessment of national stakeholders' perspectives
Reviewer(s):Andrea Margit LieseORCiDGND, Harald FuhrORCiDGND, Anja JetschkeORCiDGND
Publication type:Doctoral Thesis
Language:English
Publication year:2019
Publishing institution:Universität Potsdam
Granting institution:Universität Potsdam
Date of final exam:2020/01/29
Release date:2020/02/18
Tag:Expertenautorität; Governance; Politikempfehlungen; internationale Organisationen; internationale Verwaltungen; nationale Ministerien
expert authority; governance; international bureaucracies; international organizations; national ministries; policy advice
Number of pages:233
Organizational units:Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaftliche Fakultät / Sozialwissenschaften
DDC classification:3 Sozialwissenschaften / 32 Politikwissenschaft / 320 Politikwissenschaft
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