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Governing the Embedded StateThe Organizational Dimension of Governance$
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Bengt Jacobsson, Jon Pierre, and Göran Sundström

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199684168

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199684168.001.0001

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Governing by Organizing

Governing by Organizing

(p.44) 3 Governing by Organizing
Governing the Embedded State

Bengt Jacobsson

Jon Pierre

Göran Sundström

Oxford University Press

Politicians establish administrations in order to handle “wicked” problems over time. The main question occupying politicians in relation to the administration is less about creating a complying system than about creating a responsive one. The administration must be able to see how the problems it has been assigned to handle, as well as ways of attacking those problems, change over time. In this chapter we show how the government, when (re)organizing policy fields, uses various steering strategies in order to accomplish an administration that is able to orient and adapt to changing conditions, while at the same time staying loyal to the will of the government. By creating formal administrative units (with instructions, officials, goals, resources), positioning these units in the organizational landscape, fostering rivalry between them, distancing arrangements and storytelling, the government tries to make sure that issues are taken care of in a manner consistent with its intentions.

Keywords:   organizing, creating administrative units, positioning, fostering rivalry, distancing, storytelling

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