On 6 February 2018 Professor Jens Blom-Hansen (Aarhus University) will present his paper ‘Reputation and organizational politics: Inside the EU Commission’ at ARENA in Oslo.

This paper uses reputation theory to address a century-old puzzle: what guides the choice of coordination efforts in large politico-administrative systems? Max Weber, founder of the modern study of bureaucracy, famously considered a hierarchy superior to other organizational models. However, modern governments are not organized as one big hierarchy, but as a set of parallel hierarchies, typically 15-20 ministries. This raises a coordination challenge, which in practice has proven surprisingly difficult to meet. Based on reputation theory we argue that coordination is part of an agency’s audience management. We investigate this argument in the European Union’s central executive institution, the EU Commission. Based on almost 14,000 cases from the EU Commission’s internal digital coordination system we analyze the impact of audience sensitivity and audience scope on coordination efforts. Our findings depart from current research on the EU Commission and contribute to the exploration of the empirical domain of reputation theory.

More information can be found here


6 February 2018: TARN Lecture in Oslo