TARN Lecture: Jens Blom-Hansen

Professor Jens Blom-Hansen presented the paper 'Reputation and organizational politics: Inside the EU Commission' on 6 February 2018 at ARENA.

Photo: Jens Blom-Hansen

This Tuesday Seminar was organised as part of the TARN Lecture Series. Report from the lecture.


This paper uses reputation theory to address a century-old puzzle: what guides the choice of coordination efforts in large politico-administrative systems? Max Weber, founder of the modern study of bureaucracy, famously considered a hierarchy superior to other organizational models. However, modern governments are not organized as one big hierarchy, but as a set of parallel hierarchies, typically 15-20 ministries. This raises a coordination challenge, which in practice has proven surprisingly difficult to meet. Based on reputation theory we argue that coordination is part of an agency’s audience management. We investigate this argument in the European Union’s central executive institution, the EU Commission. Based on almost 14,000 cases from the EU Commission’s internal digital coordination system we analyze the impact of audience sensitivity and audience scope on coordination efforts. Our findings depart from current research on the EU Commission and contribute to the exploration of the empirical domain of reputation theory.

Download the paper (restricted access)

Please note that this paper is work in progress and thus has limited distribution, please contact us if you would like access. Do not cite without permission from the author.

TARN Lecture Series

The Academic Research Network on Agencification of EU Executive Governance (TARN) will host a series of lectures featuring renowned academics and practitioners to discuss salient issues of agencification of EU executive governance.

The lectures will be organised by the TARN partners in Berlin, Florence, London, Luxembourg, Maastricht, Oslo, Paris, Rome and Vienna.

Published Nov. 28, 2017 12:10 PM - Last modified Feb. 7, 2018 9:00 PM