IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Organization theory, public administration, democratic governance


  • Johan P. Olsen


This paper sketches an organization theory-based approach to the study of public administrative behavior, institutions and developments in the context of democratic governance. The approach is here called the ‘Bergen approach’ because it originated as part of developing a department of public administration and organization theory at the University of Bergen. Today, however, it has offspring and contributors at several Norwegian universities and colleges. It combines an interest in the preconditions and consequences of different administrative forms and processes with an interest in theories of democracy, assuming that an improved understanding of public administration is essential to a comprehension of political and societal life in general. The paper is organized in the following way: First the international and local contexts of the Bergen approach are outlined. Then the program’s foundational ideas are presented, followed by a discussion of some key theoretical ideas and controversies. Finally it is asked whether the program is still kicking.

Suggested Citation

  • Johan P. Olsen, 2007. "Organization theory, public administration, democratic governance," ARENA Working Papers 1, ARENA.
  • Handle: RePEc:erp:arenax:p0237

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: Full text
    Download Restriction: no


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Marian Döhler, 2017. "The Bias of Structures: How Multidivisional Organizations Work in the Public Sector," Public Organization Review, Springer, vol. 17(1), pages 83-100, March.

    More about this item


    organization theory; organization theory; public administration; governance; democratization; democratization;

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:erp:arenax:p0237. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Sindre Eikrem Hervig). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.