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An Organizational Approach to Public GovernanceUnderstanding and Design$
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Morten Egeberg and Jarle Trondal

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198825074

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198825074.001.0001

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Organization Structure, Demographic Background, and Actual Behaviour

Organization Structure, Demographic Background, and Actual Behaviour

A Critical Case

(p.53) 4 Organization Structure, Demographic Background, and Actual Behaviour
An Organizational Approach to Public Governance

Morten Egeberg

Jarle Trondal

Oxford University Press

This chapter offers a ‘critical case’ on the influence of organizational structure in public governance. By examining organizational members who have ambiguous and temporary affiliations to organizations, it shows how organizational structure trumps demographic background when explaining decision-making behaviour. Survey and interview data on temporary staff in the European Commission support an organizational perspective in two ways. First, temporary Commission officials tend to evoke a tripartite representational repertoire consisting of departmental, epistemic, and supranational roles. Second, more importantly, the composite mix of these representational roles is systematically biased by the organizational structures embedding them: (i) the formal organization of the Commission, (ii) the multiple organizational embeddedness of the staff, (iii) their degrees of organizational affiliation towards the Commission, (iv) their modes of interaction within the Commission, but also (v) their educational backgrounds. Thus, a key demographic background factor like nationality seems to have only modest impact on temporary officials’ behaviour.

Keywords:   demographic background, European Commission, organization structure, representational roles, temporary staff

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