Proposal for a SOG Conference in Jerusalem 2014

2014 Structure and Organization of Government (SOG) Conference -  Call for Papers

What Makes Governmental Agencies Tick?

at The Federman School of Public Policy, The Department of Political Science, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Mount Scopus, 91905, Jerusalem, Israel

5-7 January, 2014

This SOG Conference intends to shed light on several themes of considerable importance to the understanding of public agencies as both governmental institutions and administrative organizations. It intends to do so by placing government agencies’ decision making and behavior at the center of attention in order to facilitate a systematic thinking on how government agencies operate and how the administrative state functions. In particular, this conference encourages the development of theories and methods that shed light on the internal shaping of administrative organizations’ uneven responsiveness to – and their management of – their multiple external overseers, competitors, collaborators, clients, regulated entities and the public at large. 


Our aim is to bring together papers that transcend the dichotomous view of administrative agencies as either shirking external control, or as fully responsive to external signals from their political environment. Theoretical developments in this direction are rapidly accumulating within our discipline. Recent research over the past decade revolves around the endogenous shaping and consequences of bureaucratic autonomy (Carpenter, 2001;  Meier and Krause 2003a, b; Christensen and Laegreid, 2006; Yesilkagit, 2004; Yesilkagit and Christensen, 2010; Carpenter and Krause 2010; Krause 2010) and reputation (e.g., Carpenter 2002; 2004; 2010; Maor 2007, 2010, 2011; Maor and Sulitzeanu-Kenan forthcoming; Maor, Gilad and Ben-Nun Bloom 2012; Gilad, Maor and Ben-Nun Bloom 2012); the shaping and patterns of individual officials’ blame avoidance strategies (e.g., Hood 2011; Hood et al. 2009; Hood and Lodge, 2006; Moynihan, 2012); officials’ partial circumvention of external transparency measures (Hood, 2007; Hood and Rothstein, 2001; Roberts, 2005); the internal mediation of bureaucratic attention (e.g., Jennings, 2009; May, Workman and Jones 2008); and the consequences of bureaucratic capacity (Ting 2011) and of bureaucratic identity (Gilad, 2008). Taking the national - as opposed to organizational - level as the unit of analysis, Lodge and Wegrich have explored the consequences of cultural biases for regulatory action, and for media discourse, in response to public calls for enhanced regulation in the aftermath of crisis (Lodge, 2011; Lodge and Wegrich, 2011).

The above relatively new theoretical streams that have evolved alongside more traditional schools of thought — principal-agency theory and transaction-costs economics — have generated several significant insights on the fundamental powers of bureaucratic agencies and on central issues of modern democracy. Still, the systematic body of knowledge that places intra-organizational structures, processes and strategies, at the centre of analysis concerning what makes governmental agencies tick is largely unexplored.

Hence, our interest is in the intra-organizational factors and strategies that mediate agencies’ responsiveness to external signals and demands, and in the endogenous formation, evolution and change of these internal factors. Some relevant questions may involve the following:

How do agencies confront the challenge of operating in an environment composed of diverse audiences including legislators, clientele groups, policy experts, rival agencies, ordinary citizens and the media?

What are the foundations of agencies’ motivations, capacity, reputation, attention and identity, and to what extent do these internal factors impact upon their strategic decision in a context of a richly textured political environment?

How fundamental are the formation and cultivation of the aforementioned intra-organizational factors to our understanding of public administration in a democracy? To what extent have the basic assumptions and empirical work addressing the aforementioned factors extend our understanding of the functioning of government agencies?

How do conflicting policy preferences within administrative agencies come about, and how does this affect their ability to execute their policy mission?

How do agency heads’ individual career concerns impact upon agency behavior?

How do reputational considerations shape interagency interactions in exclusive or shared regulatory contexts?

What explains inter-agency and over-time variance in administrative agencies’ intangible cultures, identities and reputations?

How do formal structures (e.g. legal mandates, terms of nomination) interact with intangibles institutions — such as organizational culture, identity and reputation — to shape agency responsiveness to external pressures and demands?

To what extent have New Public Management reforms and networked-forms of governance reshaped agencies’ capacities, identities and strategies for blame avoidance and reputation management?  What impact have these changes had on agencies’ attentiveness and responsiveness to external pressures and demands?

We invite conceptual and empirical papers which focus on decision-making and behavior of governmental agencies and are informed by the aforementioned agent-based approaches.

Keynote Speaker

Prof. Dan Carpenter, Department of Government, Harvard University

Application Deadline/Arrangements

Paper proposals (500 words) addressing the conference theme should be sent electronically to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by August 31st 2013 with ‘SOG paper’ as subject. Acceptance of papers will be notified by email by September 30th 2013. Please be advised that panel places are limited and that participants are expected to become SOG members.



The venue of the conference is the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Financial Support

In line with the SOG guideline, we assume responsibility for most on-site costs for selected overseas participants. The conference organizers will cover the accommodation costs (2 nights) of the first-named author as well as those attending by special invitation. Breakfasts, lunches & dinners will be provided.





Conference Events


Organizing Committee

Prof. Moshe Maor, Department of Political Science
Dr. Sharon Gilad, Dep. of Political Science & The Federman School of Public Policy
Dr. Anat Gofen-Sarig, The Federman School of Public Policy
Dr. Raanan Sulitzeanu-Kenan, Dep. of Political Science & The Federman School of Public Policy

Further Information

Should you require any further information regarding conference arrangements, please contact Dr Sharon Gilad at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Prof. Moshe Maor at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Useful Websites

The Hebrew University
The Federman School of Public Policy:
The Department of Political Science:

City of Jerusalem:



Carpenter, D. P. 2001. The Forging of Bureaucratic Autonomy: Reputations, Networks, and Policy Innovation in Executive Agencies, 1862-1928. Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press.

Carpenter, D. P. 2002. Groups, the Media, Agency Waiting Costs, and FDA Drug Approval. American Journal of Political Science 46: 490-505.

Carpenter, D. P. 2004. Protection Without Capture: Dynamic Product Approval by a Politically Responsive, Learning Regulator. American Political Science Review 98: 613-631.

Carpenter, D. P. 2010a. Reputation and Power: Organizational Image and Pharmaceutical Regulation at the FDA. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Carpenter, D. P. 2010b. Institutional Strangulation: Bureaucratic Politics and Financial Reform in the Obama Administration. Perspectives on Politics 8: 825-846.

Carpenter, D. P. and G. A. Krause. 2012. Reputation and Public Administration. Public Administration Review 72(1): 26-32.

Christensen and Laegreid, 2006. Autonomy and Regulation. Coping with Agencies in the Modern State, Cheltenhan: Edward Elgar.

Gilad, S. 2008. "Exchange without Capture: The UK Financial Ombudsman Service's Struggle for Accepted Domain." Public Administration 86: 907-24.

Gilad, S. M. Maor and P. Ben-Nun Bloom. 2012, Organizational Reputation, the Content of Public Allegations and Regulatory Communication, Paper presented at the International Political Science Association Conference, Madrid, Spain.

Hood, C. 2007. "What Happens When Transparency Meets Blame-Avoidance?" Public Management Review 9: 191-210.

Hood, C. 2011. The Blame Game: Spin, Bureaucracy, and Self-Preservation in Government: Princeton University Press, 2011.

Hood, C., W. Jennings, R. Dixon, B. Hogwood, and C. Beeston. 2009. "Testing Times: Exploring Staged Responses and the Impact of Blame Management Strategies in Two Examination Fiasco Cases." European Journal of Political Research 48: 695-722.

Hood, C. and M. Lodge. 2006. The Politics of Public Service Bargains: Reward, Competency, Loyalty - and Blame. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Hood, C., and H. Rothstein. 2001. "Risk Regulation under Pressure: Problem Solving or Blame Shifting?" Administration & Society 33: 21-53.

Jennings, W. 2009. "The Public Thermostat, Political Responsiveness and Error-Correction: Border Control and Asylum in Britain, 1994–2007." British Journal of Political Science 39(04): 847-870.

Krause , G.A. 2010. Legislative Delegation of Authority to Bureaucratic Agencies, In: Durant R.F. (ed.) The Oxford Handbook of American Bureaucracy, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 521-544.

Lodge, M. 2011. Risk, regulation and crisis: comparing national responses in food safety regulation. Journal of Public Policy, 31: 25-50.

Lodge, M. and Wegrich, K. 2011. Arguing about financial regulation: comparing national discourses on the global financial crisis. PS: political science & politics, 44: 726-730.

Maor, M. 2007. A Scientific Standard and an Agency's Legal Independence: Which of These Reputation-Protection Mechanisms is Less Susceptible to Political Moves. Public Administration 85: 961-978.

Maor, M. 2010. Organizational Reputation and Jurisdictional Claims: The Case of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Governance 23: 133-159.

Maor, M. 2011. Organizational Reputation and the Observability of Public Warnings in 10 Pharmaceutical Markets. Governance 24: 557-582.

Maor, M. and R. Sulitzeanu-Kenan. Forthcoming, 2012. The Effect of Salient Reputational Threats on the Pace of FDA Enforcement. Governance
Maor, M., S. Gilad and P. Ben-Nun Bloom. Forthcoming, 2012. Organizational Reputation, Regulatory Talk and Strategic Silence, Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory.

May, P. J., S. Workman and B. D. Jones 2008. Organizing Attention: Responses of the Bureaucracy to Agenda Disruption Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory 18: 517-541

Meier, K.J. and G. Krause. 2003a. The Scientific Study of Bureaucracy: An Overview, In: Krause G.A. and Meier K.J. (eds.) Politics, Policy, and Organizations: Frontier in the Scientific Study of Buraucracy, Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 1-22.

Meier, K.J. and G. Krause. 2003b. Conclusion: An Agenda for Scientific Study, In: Krause G.A. and Meier K.J. (eds.) Politics, Policy, and Organizations: Frontier in the Scientific Study of Buraucracy, Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 292-308.

Moynihan, D.P. 2012. Extra-Network Organizational Reputation and Blame Avoidance in Networks: The Hurricane Katrina Example Governance DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-0491.2012.01593.x (early on-line view).

Roberts, A. S. 2005. Spin Control and Freedom of Information: Lessons for the United Kingdom from Canada. Public Administration 83: 1-23.

Ting, M.M. 2011. Organizational Capacity, Journal of Law, Economics & Organization 27 (2): 245-271.

Yesilkagit, K. 2004. ‘Bureaucratic Autonomy, Organizational Culture and Habituation: Politicians and Independent Administrative Bodies in the Netherlands’, Administration & Society, 36: 528-552.

Yesilkagit, K. and T. Christensen. 2010. ‘Institutional Design and Formal Autonomy: Political versus Historical and Cultural Explanations’, Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 20: 53-74.