Organization theory, public administration, democratic governance
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.
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