Bureaucratic Structure and Administrative Behaviour. Lessons from international bureaucracies

In this study Jarle Trondal compares two enduring behavioural patterns within bureaucratic organisations: a logic of hierarchy and a logic of portfolio.

ARENA Working Paper 11/2010 (pdf)

Jarle Trondal

This article contributes to a growing international bureaucracy literature by exploring the relationship between bureaucratic structure and administrative behaviour. The ambition of this study is twofold: First, it explores the extent to which international bureaucracies combine two inherent behavioural logics: a logic of hierarchy and a logic of portfolio. Secondly, two key empirical lessons are used to modify four conventional claims in existing research. Drawing on a rich body of data from three international bureaucracies (the Commission, the OECD Secretariat, and the WTO Secretariat), this study suggests that administrative behaviour among international civil servants is profoundly shaped by the bureaucratic structures of international bureaucracies. Variation in the abovementioned behavioural logics is conditioned by two aspects of bureaucratic structure: First, the accumulation of relevant organisational capacities at the executive centre of international bureaucracies, and secondly, the vertical and horizontal specialisation of international bureaucracies.

Tags: International bureaucracy, administrative behaviour, the EU Commission, the WTO Secretariat, bureaucratic structure, the OECD Secretariat
Published Feb. 8, 2011 11:27 AM - Last modified Feb. 8, 2011 11:31 AM