Are international bureaucracies vehicles for the common good?
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- ISL Working Papers 
This paper challenges widely held claims that international bureaucracies lack the potential to profoundly shape the behaviour, roles and identities of its personnel, and that the role of international civil servants are primarily shaped by where the officials come from. It is argued and empirically suggested that international bureaucracies may possess considerable clout to shape some basic behavioural perceptions among its personnel. The rise of what is phrased as ‘actor-level supranationalism’ among international civil servants suggests that international bureaucracies ‘matter’ and adds value beyond being mere secretariats of member-state governments – thus serving a ‘common good’. Benefiting from a large and novel set of interviews with civil servants from the European Commission, the OECD Secretariat and the WTO Secretariat, ‘actor-level supranationalism’ is shown to rise through internal and external processes of socialisation and adaptation. Actor-level supranationalism is associated with four factors: (i) the length of tenure among international civil servants, (ii) types of prior institutional affiliations of these officials, (iii) size and scope of administrative capacities of international bureaucracies, and (iv) the power and autonomy of international bureaucracies.
Presentation on department page: http://www.uia.no/no/portaler/om_universitetet/oekonomi_og_samfunnsvitenskap/statsvitenskap_og_ledelsesfag/ forskning_isl/isl_working_papers_series