Multiple Institutional Embeddedness in Europe. The Case of Danish, Norwegian and Swedish Government Officials

This paper investigates the dynamics of national officials involved in EU committee work. Drawing on organizational theory it is argued that the co-ordinative role of foreign ministries depends crucially on the framing of interaction in Brussels.

ARENA Working Paper 32/1999 (html)

Jarle Trondal

The question posed in the current study is whether, and how, participation within Commission expert committees and Council working parties affects the co-ordination behaviour of the participants. Based on organizational theory arguments, the co-ordination role of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is arguably weakened by institutional dynamics existing within Commission expert committees. The opposite is argued to be the case within Council working parties. Empirically, this study is based on 160 questionnaires and 47 face-to-face interviews with Danish, Norwegian and Swedish government officials attending EU committees. Being excluded from attending Council working parties, Norwegian civil servants participating within Commission expert committees are shown to co-ordinate considerably less with the Foreign Ministry than their Danish and Swedish counterparts. Still, notwithstanding these observations, this study also reveals the pivotal role of domestic government institutions as to affect co-ordination behaviour amongst civil servants. In addition to show how EU committees affect co-ordination behaviour amongst the participants, the current analysis also shows how responses to integration requirements are filtered – and even conditioned – by a prior state of affairs at the domestic level of governance.

A later version of this paper was published in Scandinavian Political Studies 23 (4): 311-341, 2000.

Tags: organization theory, Denmark, Sweden, comitology, expert committees, Norway
Published Nov. 9, 2010 10:52 AM - Last modified Apr. 26, 2011 2:15 PM