An Organisational Approach to European Integration: Outline of a Complementary Perspective

This paper outlines an organisational approach to European integration, arguing that organisation affects behaviour, loyalty and role enactment in ways that are too frequently ignored by neogovernmental and institutionalist contributions.

ARENA Working Paper 18/2001 (html)

Morten Egeberg

An organisational approach to European integration focuses on individual actors’ organisational context in order to account for their behaviour, interests and identities. Intergovernmentalists usually preclude any profound impact of EU institutions and organisations. Institutionalists (other than rational choice institutionalists), on the other hand, claim that EU institutions are able to shape and reshape individual actors’ preferences and sense of belonging. Seen from an organisational perspective, however, institutionalists often fail to specify (and theorise) the organisational components that EU institutions contain. By focusing on organisational factors, it becomes evident that parts of the EU’s institutional set-up, e.g. its huge system of advisory committees, can not be expected to affect participants strongly. These structures simply impose too few demands on decision makers. However, other institutions, like the COREPER, even if it is highly present in the lives of policy makers, is organised in a way that makes it more likely that diplomats’ basic ways of thinking and acting are sustained rather than seriously challenged.

Tags: institutions, organization theory, role conceptions
Published Nov. 9, 2010 10:52 AM