Re-discovering International Executive Institutions

Jarle Trondal*, Martin Marcussen, Frode Veggeland

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    Public Administration is in an era of change. This article aims at re-discovering one under-researched part of public administration, the executive arms of International Governmental Organizations (IGOs). These are referred to as International Executives (IEs). The article provides a conceptual mapping and an empirical illustration of three important dynamics of IEs — intergovernmental, supranational and transgovernmental dynamics. The study also offers a middle-range organization theory perspective, which suggests five independent variables that foster the advent of supranational and transgovernmental behavior and roles among IE civil servants. The variables suggested are (H1) the organizational properties of IEs, (H2) the degrees of institutionalization of IEs, (H3) the recruitment procedures of the IEs, (H4) characteristics of the relationships between IEs and external institutions and finally (H5) demographic characteristics of the IE civil servants. The empirical illustrations are drawn from the European Commission, the OECD Secretariat and the WTO Secretariat. The concern here is to theoretically account for and empirically illustrate the assumed relationships between the five hypotheses and the behavioral dynamics evolving among IE incumbents. The article argues that the IEs of the EU, the OECD and the WTO seem to share important behavioral dynamics due to several organizational similarities.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalComparative European Politics
    Issue number2
    Pages (from-to)232-258
    Number of pages27
    Publication statusPublished - 2005


    • European Commission
    • Intergovernmentalism
    • OECD
    • Public administration
    • Supranationalism
    • Transformation
    • Transgovernmentalism
    • WTO

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