The dynamics of compound bureaucracies

This book introduces international bureaucracy as a key field of study for public administration and also rediscovers international bureaucracy as an essential ingredient in the study of international organizations. Firstly, the book systematically compares behavioural dynamics within a carefully selected number of international bureaucracies. The focus is on studying these dynamics within international bureaucracies at the actor level - that is, by studying the behaviour and roles as perceived by the officials themselves. The book outlines a conceptual map of four generic behavioural dynamics that are likely to be evoked by these officials: intergovernmental, supranational, departmental and epistemic dynamics. Essentially, the Westphalian international order dominated by the intergovernmental dynamic is challenged to the extent that international bureaucracies embed supranational, departmental and epistemic dynamics in everyday decision-making processes. Admittedly, there are no guarantees that these dynamics always materialise in the actors' behaviour and ultimately in the decisions reached by international organisations. However, they serve as cognitive and normative frames for action, rendering it more likely than not that particular decision-making dynamics are associated with certain behavioural patterns. Secondly, the book illuminates some causal factors that may help to explore the conditions under which different behavioural dynamics are manifested in the behavioural and role perceptions of the incumbents of international bureaucracies. Essentially, the authors do not propose to 'test' the four dynamics outlined above in a rigorous manner. They serve more as 'searchlights for illuminating empirical patterns in our data'.

This chapter presents a complementary way of understanding intergovernmental behavioural patterns and emphasises the importance of member states as actors in the game. Typical civil servants with an intergovernmental perspective are those employed by the Foreign Office, particularly those in the diplomatic corps. Intergovernmentalism has mainly been seen as a means by which national governments influence international organisations. Seconded national experts (SNE) are much more detached from the member-state governments than is generally believed. SNEs tend to enact a departmental contact pattern while working for the Commission, much like permanent Commission administrators. The presence of inside-out intergovernmentalism is of particular interest in the cases of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and World Trade Organization (WTO) Secretariats as the classic form of intergovernmentalism is more acknowledged in the Commission.

in Unpacking international organisations

The routines, procedures, justifications and ways of doing things in international bureaucracies are typically different from national bureaucracies. International bureaucracies share some important characteristics with national bureaucracies such as the fact that they are vertically specialised and rule-based organisations, the key elements of the Weberian model of bureaucracy. The idea of a 'bureaucracy' is quite strong in the mindset of the international civil servants, and the basic ideas implied in this organisational principle are directly or indirectly assigned to the international bureaucracy. The role of international bureaucracies in global governance is seen by some as rooted in knowledge and epistemic communities. Some signs of intergovernmentalism can be noticed mainly at the organisational helm of international bureaucracies among the top leaders. Intergovernmentalism is largely buffered within international bureaucracies.

in Unpacking international organisations

This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book illuminates the fact that the mix of behavioural dynamics within international bureaucracies is organisationally contingent and more complex than assumed by the theoretical orthodoxy of the study of international relations (IR). It argues that one of the defining features of international bureaucracies is their compound nature consisting of multiple behavioural dynamics, role definitions and identities among the incumbents. The book presents the three international bureaucracies at the three levels of analysis: the macro-level, the meso-level and the micro-level. It provides supplementary descriptive information on international bureaucracies with respect to organisational size, administrative resources, recent reforms and administrative transformations, strategies and administrative policies. The book draws implications from the observations with respect to questions on the autonomy, accountability and efficiency of international bureaucracies.

in Unpacking international organisations

This chapter discusses four organisational variables, specifying conditions under which the officials of international bureaucracies are likely to adopt intergovernmental, supranational, departmental and/or epistemic decision-making dynamics in a more or less routinised way. The first independent variable considered is the core organisational properties of international bureaucracies. The second independent variable considered is the recruitment procedures. The perceptions of officials within international bureaucracies regarding their own decision-making behaviour, roles and identities may be greatly affected by the procedures applied to recruit the staff. The third independent variable considered is the characteristics of the actor relationships that may develop between organisations and within organisations. Both rationalist and cognitive accounts of international organisations 'have been rather silent on the role of domestic factors'. Finally, organisations are composed of actors with demographic characteristics that may guide actors' perceptions of their own behaviour, roles and identities.

in Unpacking international organisations

This chapter shows the Commission as balancing and integrating an autonomous civil service staffed mainly by permanent officials, although supplemented by temporary short-term contracted personnel from the member states. It explores the macro-level of the Commission, that is, the core functions and roles that the Commission performs as well as the wider institutional environment within which the Commission is embedded. The chapter introduces the meso-level of the Commission, that is, the formal organisation of the Commission services with respect to both horizontal and vertical specialisation. The Commission is pictured as balancing several organisational principles, notably the principles of purpose and process. The chapter also introduces the micro-level of the Commission, the Commission personnel and focuses on the distinction between permanent and temporary Commission officials. The Commission occupies a pivotal role as the key executive institution of the European Union (EU).

in Unpacking international organisations

Originally the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) that replaced the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation (OEEC) in 1961 was thought of as an alternative producer of independent policy ideas. The chapter discusses the historico-political context of the OECD at the macro-level. With the end of the Cold War, a large number of other countries soon managed to fulfil the criteria for OECD membership: a belief in and a consolidated practice of a market economy and a liberal democracy. The chapter also discusses the committee structure at the meso-level, where politics meets international bureaucracy. Clearly, there are important links between the 'political' level related to the Council, the Executive Committee and the many sub-committees, and the 'administrative' level in terms of the OECD Secretariat. The chapter describes the secretarial dynamics at the micro-level.

in Unpacking international organisations
Abstract only

This chapter presents the World Trade Organization (WTO) Secretariat, its organisational characteristics and its functions and roles within the broader framework of the WTO. It explores the macro-level of the WTO Secretariat, that is, the core functions and roles of the international organisation it has been set up to support, the WTO, and the wider institutional environment within which the WTO and its Secretariat are embedded. The chapter introduces the meso-level, the formal organisation of the WTO Secretariat as well as its function within the WTO system. It focuses on the micro-level, that is, the composition of the staff, recruitment procedures, years of tenure, nationality and other demographic factors. The WTO Secretariat appears in many ways as a traditional bureaucratic organisation based on neutrality, the rule of law, a hierarchic organisation and a vertical specialisation and with a merit-based recruitment system.

in Unpacking international organisations

This chapter demonstrates the existence of a foundational departmental dynamic within all the international bureaucracies studied, both with respect to contact, co-ordination and conflict patterns and to the identity and role perceptions among the personnel. It provides a short review of studies on international bureaucracy that focus on the departmental behavioural dynamic. The chapter also provides data from this study on the departmental behavioural dynamics inside the Commission, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Secretariat and the World Trade Organization (WTO) Secretariat. It compares the departmental dynamics in the Commission, the OECD Secretariat and the WTO Secretariat. The chapter observes strong perceptional effects of the horizontal specialisation of international bureaucracies. This effect is most clearly seen in the Commission between the General Secretariat (GS) and Directorate-General (DG) Trade.

in Unpacking international organisations

This chapter investigates how supranational dynamics are played out among civil servants working in the bureaucracies of the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the Commission. Supranationalism has been studied for a long time, particularly in connection with the establishment and development of the institutions of the European Community/European Union (EC/EU). The study of the supranational dynamic is focused on the individual civil servants' orientation towards the international organisation in which they are serving, and on international institutions' capacity for shaping and changing individual loyalties, identities, beliefs and behaviours. The chapter explores civil servants' enactment of supranational roles in international bureaucracies. It is useful to relate the supranational dynamic to classical models of bureaucracies: the models of representative bureaucracy and Weberian bureaucracy. The chapter concludes by summing up and analysing the empirical observations with respect to the occurrence of supranational dynamics.

in Unpacking international organisations