Democracy Doctorate

Can democratic innovations change democracy?

#5Papers – Politicians & collaborative goverance

1. Citation

Torfing J. And Ansell C. (2017) ‘Strengthening political leadership and policy innovation through the expansion of collaborative forms of governance’ in Public Management Review Vol.19, No.1 pp37-54

2. What attracted me to this Article?

I am currently doing research into the role of political elites in different forms of democratic innovation and this article appears to be about political elites and collaborative governance which is one of the forms of democratic innovation I will be writing about.

3. What is it about (Problem / Purpose / Research Questions)?

The authors believe that policy innovation is necessary to address the pressing problems we face and argue that politicians should engage in collaborative governance to support policy innovation.   Read the rest of this entry »


#5Papers – what effects do​ institutional changes enhancing citizens’ role have on the role orientation and behaviour of Councillors?


Denters, B. and Klok, P-J. (2013) ‘Citizen Democracy and the Responsiveness of Councillors: The Effects of Democratic Institutionalisation on the Role Orientations and Role Behaviour of Councillors’ in Local Government Studies Vol 39 No.5 pp661-680

What attracted me to this Article / Chapter?    

I’ve been trying to find some foundational texts or review articles about elected representatives and role orientation. I’ve had some great recommendations but unfortunately one of the key texts isn’t available at my uni library or any others I can assess 😦

So I went back to my files and found this one that appears to focus not simply on role orientations but how different institutional arrangements, in particular around the role of citizens vs. parties, impacts on role orientations. This is likely to be of relevance to the work I’m doing on the roles of elected reps in democratic innovations and my research on the impact of democratic innovations on the perspectives of elected representatives.

What is it about? (Problem / Purpose / Research Questions)

Research question: whether and how cross-national variations in the institutions of local democracy affect the responsiveness (in both their role orientations and their role behaviour) of councillors.

The authors investigated the impact of two different approaches to institutionalising democratic systems at the local level:

  1. citizen oriented institutions
  2. party oriented institutions.

Using Pitkin’s notion of responsiveness they hypothesise that in a citizen focused democracy elected reps would make it a priority to keep “abreast of the opinions and needs of citizens” p665 And that ‘variations in institutional contexts will go hand in hand with differences in the value orientations and behaviours of actors in the affected political arenas.’ pp665 – 666. They identify nine hypothesises all up. Read the rest of this entry »

#5Papers – meaning making and institutional change & maintenance


Zilber TB ‘The Work of Meanings in Institutional Processes and Thinking’ in The SAGE Handbook of Organizational Institutionalism Greenwood R, Oliver C, Suddaby R & Sahlin K (eds) 2008 SAGE Publications Ltd, London pp150-169

What attracted me to this Article / Chapter?    

I came across this chapter when doing a literature search on ‘institutional work’ and ‘narrative’ for the upcoming journal paper I am contributing to. I’m also thinking about how ‘institutional work’ and ‘narrative’ will be relevant to my PhD research. One arch of our journal paper is ‘storytelling’ and to me storytelling is about creating meanings and so this chapter caught my interest.

What is it about? (Problem / Purpose / Research Questions)           

This is a reference chapter and so the author reviews empirical and theoretical literature on “ideational aspects of institutional processes” p2 of 21

The author aims to identify the value these works provide in considering institutions and to also identify areas for further research. Read the rest of this entry »

#5Papers – review of ‘institutional work’


Lawrence TB, Leca B and Zilber TB ‘Institutional Work: Current Research, New Directions and Overlooked Issues’ in Organization Studies 34(8) 1023-1033, 2013

What attracted me to this Article / Chapter?     

This is the latest piece by Lawrence et al about the concept of institutional work. I’m interested to see how their thinking has developed since their initial work in 2006 (seven years is a long time in academia!). Also this article is an introduction to a special edition of the Journal on institutional work in organizational studies – I’m keen to see how this organizational focus operates and whether it is relevant to my PhD research which is focused more on institutions which aren’t always operationalised via organizations.

 What is it about? (Problem / Purpose / Research Questions)

As the opening article in the special edition of Organization Studies devoted to institutional work the authors aim to review the field generally and also the contribution of the other articles in the special edition to this field of enquiry to identify the direction of research and gaps in research. Read the rest of this entry »

#5 Papers: institutional work to deliver institutional change


Beunen & J.J. Patterson (2016): Analysing Institutional change in environmental governance: exploring the concept of ‘institutional work,’ Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, DOI: 10.1080/09640568.2016.1257423

What attracted me to this Article / Chapter?

I’m writing an article on institutional work and environmental governance with my supervisor and another academic for a special issue of the Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, and this article is the foundation one for that special issue.

This article would be of interest even if I weren’t co-authoring a paper because the concept of ‘institutional work’ is likely very relevant to my Ph.D. research (although not in the environmental governance field specifically).

What is it about? (Problem / Purpose / Research Questions)           

This article aims to set the scene for the special issue of the Journal of Environmental Planning and Management by identifying a useful way of thinking about and analysing institutional change in the area of environmental governance. Read the rest of this entry »