Public Administration in the Context of Global Governance
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Public Administration in the Context of Global Governance

Edited by Soonhee Kim, Shena Ashley and Henry W. Lambright

This collection explores the frontiers of knowledge at the intersection of public administration and international relations scholarship. The culturally, generationally and academically diverse team of editors stake a meaningful claim in this burgeoning field by bringing together an international group of top and emerging scholars who think and research at this intersection. The acceleration of global governance arrangements presents a new sphere of public administration beyond the nation-state, and a new set of challenges for national and local governments that have gone unexplored. Public administration scholarship has essentially ignored the thousands of international and transboundary organizations that have become critical to the creation and implementation of global policy. This book highlights a broad range of research topics and approaches to help illustrate the expansive contours of relevant inquiry and to advance research in the field. There is no other collection that considers the broad context of globalizing public administration and the many institutional and governance forms entailed.
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Chapter 8: The autonomy of international bureaucracies

Michael W. Bauer and Jörn Ege


International organizations seem to be persistently gaining in importance vis-à-vis national governments. One crucial dimension of the significance of international organizations such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and the World Health Organization (WHO) is their growing administrative basis. It looks as though the defining feature of international interaction in the twenty-first century is thus no longer ‘anarchy’ but ‘bureaucratization.’ This development raises questions about the role of international bureaucracies in global governance. We know little, however, about the factors that determine administrative influence in the international context. This is the gap we address here by studying the ‘autonomy’ of the administrative basis of international organizations. We will concentrate specifically on intra-organizational structures as a (we believe, decisive) dimension of the bureaucratic autonomy of what are in essence secretariats of international governmental organizations (IGOs). As we explain below, there are other (non-structure-based) ways of empirically conceptualizing bureaucratic autonomy. We believe, however, that focusing on structural aspects is the appropriate choice when embarking on an empirical-analytical endeavor aimed at eventually enabling comparisons between a large number of international bureaucracies.

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