25 July 2016

SOG is the IPSA Research Committee on the Structure and Organization of Government.  It has been the academic sponsor of the journal Governance  since its creation by SOG in 1988.    Learn more.
How government and business respond to protest

In the current issue of Governance, Sharon Gilad, Saar Alon-Barkat, and Alexandr Braverman say that "public administration scholarship has devoted limited attention to the responses of public organizations" to social protests.  They examine how Israeli public agencies and businesses responded to social protests in 2011.  They find that public organizations were "more likely to perceive social upheaval as an opportunity for reputation enhancement and for expansion of resources and jurisdiction," and increased their spending on public communications in response to the protests.  Businesses, by contrast, "perceive social activism as costly" and were "inclined to keep a low profile to avoid being targeted."  Read the article.
Horrible bosses and pathological delegation
 
Principal-agent theory has established a firm foothold in political science.  But there is a limitation with the way the theory is applied,  Mor Sobol argues in the current issue of Governance.  Scholars typically assume that problems arise because the agent is an opportunistic and disloyal actor. But principals can be just as problematic as their agents, Sobol says.  The result may be "pathological delegation": a pattern of behavior by the principal that makes it harder for the agent to do their job properly.  Sobol uses the case of the European Neighborhood Policy to examine the undesirable effects of pathological delegation.  
Panel: Is Public Management ignoring big questions?
 
Brint Milward & Laura Jensen at the panel discussion.  Photo: Raul Pacheco-Vega.
A panel at the Public Management Research Conference held at Aarhus University on June 23-24 discussed a set of short papers published in the current issue of Governance.  The papers ask whether the field of Public Management neglects big questions about state authority, capabilities and legitimacy.  Read the collection of short papers in Governance.  The panel discussion was chaired by Brint Milward.  In her contribution to the set of short papers, Laura Jensen observes: "We cannot afford to ignore, dismiss, or neglect the state if we are to answer big questions of contemporary public management. It is time to bring it -- and the associated concepts of capacity, sovereignty, and legitimacy -- back in to public management research."
Online comment: Brexit, groupthink in US government

On the Governance blog,  Vivien Schmidt considers how the EU should respond to Brexit.  Nives Dolsak and Aseem Prakash ask whether environmentalists will learn from Brexit about the perils of technocratism.  And Joleen Steyn Kotze says that Brexit suggests that African conceptual tools could be used to analyze the problems of European cosmopolitanism and citizenship.

On the FCW blog, Steve Kelman  discusses his just-published article with Ronald Sanders  and Gayatri Pandit about d ecision-making and groupthink among senior public servants in the US government.   Read his comment on the FCW blog  | Read the article in Governance.
Book reviews: Corruption and the right to information
 
In the current issue of Governance, Carolyn Warner reviews The Quest for Good Governance by Alina Mungiu-Pippidi. "It has yet to occur to the international community that corrupt actors rarely, if ever, reform themselves out of business," Warner says.  "Mungiu-Pippidi's work is a significant contribution to our understanding of the subject, and one to which policymakers and international donors should pay attention."   Read the review .

And Gaia von Hatzfeldt reviews Democracy and Transparency in the Indian State by Sharma Prashant.  India's 2005 Right to Information Act "is lauded for being both a producer and a product of an empowered and active citizenry," von Hatzfeldt says.   "Sharma Prashant provocatively and astutely questions this assumed correlation between the RTI and democratic processes."  Read the review .
New books by SOG members
 
Several SOG members contribute to a new book, Public Administration Reforms in Europe: The View From the Top, just published by Edward Elgar.  Based on a survey of more than 6700 top civil servants in 17 European countries, this book explores the impacts of New Public Management (NPM)-style reforms in Europe.  More about the book.  Steven Van de Walle discusses the book in a short comment here.
 
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SOG seeks new editorial team for Governance
 
The IPSA Research Committee on the Structure and Organization of Government (SOG), the academic sponsor of Governance is looking for a new editorial team. The current editorial team of Alasdair Roberts and Robert Cox will complete their term in December 2017.  More information is available here.  Interested scholars should contact Professor Martin Lodge at M.Lodge@lse.ac.uk.  According to Journal Citation Reports, Governance is ranked #2 in public administration and #5 in political science internationally.  It is the only journal in the world that is ranked in the top five in both fields.