Resistant to Change?

In this article of West European Politics, John R. Moodie examines the European Commission's use of experts and its response to external criticism and demands of reform.


This article examines how the European Commission has responded to external criticism and demands for the democratisation and reform of the way it uses expert groups in EU policy making. The article analyses the nature and character of the Commission’s dialogue with its critics and the degree and extent to which it was prepared to adapt its existing internal processes and procedures to the reform agenda. Recent theories inform us that organisations respond in different ways to external criticism and demands for reform, including full adaptation, evasion, institutional decoupling and reinterpretation. The main findings suggest that the Commission was not completely resistant to changing its approach to the use of expertise. The Commission reinterpreted its critics’ demands by introducing reforms that defused this external pressure, while protecting the effectiveness of its existing internal ideology and processes. These findings serve to enhance the Commission’s image as an increasingly normalised bureaucracy and reinforce the importance of knowledge and expertise as a key source of Commission legitimacy.

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John R. Moodie
Resistant to Change? The European Commission and Expert Group Reform

West European Politics, Volume 39, 2016 - Issue 2, Pages 229-256
DOI: 10.1080/01402382.2015.1041824

Published June 23, 2015 2:37 PM - Last modified Nov. 21, 2016 8:43 AM