Political Organization and Multi Level Governance

Theme and Research Profile

Main content

Theme and Research Profile

New management and organizational forms challenge established arrangements.

The group's research takes a comparative approach, oriented towards relations between the European level, the central government level, regional and municipal levels, and towards new forms of public-private cooperation. We are, amongst other things, concerned with how organization and management forms come to be and change through organizational innovations in the tension between democratic governance, public administration, and markets.

The group is involved in multiple large national and international research projects. See here for an overview of current projects.

A central theme is the conditions for an active administration policy, with emphasis on the interaction between conscious management and adaptation to international doctrines and established administrative culture and tradition. Additionally, we draw attention to political decision-making processes, focusing on how reforms which are created, implemented, and carried out at one level affect other levels in the administrative system. This relates to both increased integration in the EU and the interplay between national, regional, and local administrative agencies.

An important focus for some time has been on New Public Management-oriented administrative reforms, as well as reforms in the wake of such reforms, frequently referred to as “post-NPM” or “whole-of-government” reforms. New regulatory and supervisory policies, new control and audit forms, the emergence of new information and communication technologies, changes in relationships of trust, in accountability relations, in manners of coordination and specialization, and tensions between political control and professional autonomy in independent administrative bodies are studied.

Additionally, the research group focuses on European integration processes and their effects on political governance, democratic control of the representatives, and accountability. In Europe, changes in local, national, and transnational governance forms have a dynamic center of gravity in the European Union, which both affects the member states and is influenced by them. Increased European integration has extensive implications for current national and transnational democracy. The Norwegian government and democracy is, through membership in the EEA, influenced by the EU. European integration involves a complex interplay between specialized boards of professions, politics, and law. A main focus is to identify these ongoing processes of change in different policy areas and management levels. European cooperation, Europeanization, constitutionalism, international integration, juridification, and institution-building are key themes. Implementation processes and trends in the development of policy design are also topics which interest the research group.

Theoretically, the group employs a broad institutional approach, which combines instrumental models, cultural perspectives, and environmental adaptation. An organization theory approach to how formal organizations function, literature on multi-level governance, implementation, and transformative approaches is central.


Research Group Activities

The group is characterized by considerable research activity. Our members have published extensively in both national and international journals, and books. In recent years we have published several textbooks and have organized and managed a large externally financed continuing education initiative under the direction of the department. We are involved in several large externally financed research projects, we have recruited numerous PhD candidates, and have consistently had an abundant output of master theses submitted by our associated students. In addition, we maintain a broad international professional network, we have organized international conferences, and we regularly participate in international conferences, workshops, and seminars.