Prestigious Academy membership to Johan P. Olsen

Emeritus Professor Johan P. Olsen has been elected fellow of the US National Academy of Public Administration.

Emeritus Professor Johan P. Olsen (photo: UiO)

Professor emeritus Johan P. Olsen has been elected fellow of the US National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) in Washington, DC. He is the only European in the latest class of NAPA fellows, who were formally inducted on 3 December 2015 at the Academy's annual conference in Crystal City in Arlington, Virginia.

Established in 1967, NAPA consists of professional and academic leaders in public management, and is chartered by the US Congress to assist federal, state and local governments in improving their effectiveness, efficiency and accountability.

The academy names only a limited number of fellows each year. The fellows include former cabinet officers, Members of Congress, governors, mayors, state legislators, as well as prominent scholars, business executives, and public administrators.

Impressive academic career

The distinguished fellowship is a recognition of Johan P. Olsen's outstanding record of public administration scholarship.

'The most important event in my academic life was visiting the University of California, Irvine (1968-69). Irvine was then a new university with an innovative school of social science led by Dean James G. March', Johan P. Olsen explains on his web page.

This was the start of a decades-long collaboration between March and Olsen, with a tremendous academic impact worldwide. Their 1972 publication introducing the 'garbage-can model' of decisions is one of the world’s most cited articles in the field of social science, including business and administration. A 1984 article on new institutionalism, which outlined their idea of the 'logic of appropriateness' was ranked as one of the most important articles of the century by the American Political Science Review.

Olsen was the founding director of ARENA, which was established on his initiative as the research programme 'Advanced Research on the Europeanisation of the Nation-State' by the Norwegian Research Council in 1994. Since 2007, he has been professor emeritus at ARENA.


Olsen has received numerous honors and awards, such as the John Gauss Award, the Aaron Wildavsky Enduring Contribution Award and the Herbert A. Simon Award, and was appointed Commander of the Royal Norwegian St. Olav’s Order by the King of Norway in 2007.

In 2011, he was elected member of the American National Academy of Sciences. This is a widely accepted mark of excellence in science and is considered one of the highest honors that a scientist can receive.

At that occasion ARENA Director Erik O. Eriksen wrote on Johan P. Olsen's remarkable scholarship on his blog.

Published Dec. 16, 2015 9:32 AM - Last modified Nov. 17, 2017 11:22 AM