Accepted Paper:

Instances of bureaucracy: the meeting format as a shaper of the decision making process  


Renita Thedvall (Stockholm University)

Paper short abstract:

In metaorganisations meetings and decision making are intimately connected. The paper examines how the meeting format shapes the decision making process in committees in the EU. These meetings may be seen as instances of bureaucracy, since its members' only meet at specific times to make decisions.

Paper long abstract:

The paper examines how the meeting format shapes the decision making process in international committees, working groups and councils in the European Union. Here, particular focus is placed on an EU committee meeting, where bureaucrats from the member states and the European Commission meet to negotiate on EU employment policy. In international organisations meetings and decision-making are intimately connected. Members may be dispersed all over the world and the only times they meet face-to-face are often in pre-scheduled meetings. In this sense the meetings I have studied may be seen as 'instances of bureaucracy'. Instances, since the representatives of the member states and the Commission only meet at specific times during the year to make policies and form decisions. The focus here is on formal, scheduled meetings with formal rules for making decisions. It is bureaucracy in the weberian sense with meetings governed by explicit rules, participants regarded as experts, and written documents as the product of the meetings. The empirical material in the study is mainly based on following the decision-making process in different EU committees, working groups and council meetings. To study this I have followed the work of in different EU committee, working group and council meetings through a trainee position at the European Commission and then by following the Swedish delegation to the EU committee meetings.

Panel W052
World(s) of bureaucrats