Handbook on Theories of Governance

Daniel Naurin, Morten Egeberg and Jarle Trondal have contributed chapters to the newly published Handbook on Theories of Governance.

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About the book

The thoroughly revised and updated Handbook on Theories of Governance brings together leading scholars in the field to summarise and assess the diversity of governance theories. The Handbook advances a deeper theoretical understanding of governance processes, illuminating the interdisciplinary foundations of the field.

Organization theory 

The argument outlined in this chapter is that organizational factors (independent variables) might intervene in governance processes (dependent variables) and create a systematic bias, thus making some process characteristics and outputs more likely than others. It is argued that applying organizational theory to governance may be useful in at least two respects. First, it may add new knowledge on how different governance architectures shape governance. Second, it may also add practical value for change. If organizational variables are shown to affect governance processes in particular ways - as suggested in the chapter - these variables may subsequently be "manipulated" to achieve desired goals. In this way, theoretically informed empirical research may serve as an instrumental device. By using governance as dependent variable, the chapter discusses the following organizational variables as independent variables: organizational capacity, organizational specialization, organizational affiliation and organizational coupling. Further, by using organizational structure as dependent variable, four complementary approaches have been introduced to explain organizational change: instrumental problem solving, conflict and bargaining, rule following and learning, and diffusion.


Transparency - the availability of information about an organization's or actor's internal processes and decisions - plays a major role in theoretical, normative, and policy-oriented discussions on good governance. This chapter discusses the role of transparency in analyzing governance from the perspectives of three types of actors: government, citizens, and civil society. It highlights the potential trade-off between democratic accountability and legitimacy, on the one hand, and efficiency, on the other hand, and draws two main conclusions: First, the effects of transparency for governance are highly context dependent, not least because transparency comes in so many different shapes and forms. Second, although transparency is predominantly seen as a positive value in governance discourses, increased transparency may also have less positive effects for governance, and might occasionally be dysfunctional rather than beneficial.

Full info

Chapter 3: Organization Theory
Morten Egeberg, Åse Gornitzka and Jarle Trondal

Chapter 21: Transparency
Jenny de Fine Licht and Daniel Naurin

In: Handbook on Theories of Governance
Christopher Ansell and Jacob Torfing (eds)

Edward Elgar Publishing (2022)
ISBN: 9781800371965 

Published Feb. 24, 2022 11:25 AM - Last modified Feb. 24, 2022 11:29 AM