General aim and expected outcomes of the Conference

The general aim of the conference is to explore and discuss recent trends and developments in the public administration and public policy in broader framework of the European integration processes. The presentation of theoretical and research papers will serve as an impetus for the exchange of ideas among invited academics and researchers, as well as the PhD students for whom the PhD workshop will be organized. A certain number of the practitioners will be invited to offer practitioners’ view on the debated issues.

The principal outcome of the conference will be strengthening the links among researchers in the public administration and public policy field, especially with regard to regional research networks (South-Eastern Europe, Eastern Europe, Mediterranean area) and broader European network, as well as the contributing to the theoretical and methodological development of public administration and public policy research, with the focus on Europeanization studies. The framework of the conference rests upon the exploration of the interrelatedness of administration and policy, stability and change, old and new agendas, structure and process and other dichotomies of politico-administrative system.

The quality papers will be invited for publication in Croatian and Comparative Public Administration and Annals of Croatian Political Science.

Conference theme

Europeanization of public administration and public policy is constantly evolving area of research and theory. Under different strands of neo institutional theory a significant part of scholarly research tried to explain the effect of the European Union on public administration (top-down Europeanization), as well as the creation of European level ideas, norms, and values implemented through European level structures and practices (top-down Europeanization). A part of the research is firmly grounded on organization theory, cultural studies, legal theory and others. Similarly, in public policy research and theory, different concepts and approaches have been used to explain policy design and implementation in Europe, such as, neoinstitutional theory, rational choice theory, network theory, interpretative policy analysis and others. The convergent and divergent patterns and results were detected and attributed to various factors, such as administrative structure, political system formation etc.

The conference aim is to present and analyse different topics discussing interrelatedness of European integration development and the changes of public administration reform and practices, as well as policy development and implementation. We welcome descriptive and explanatory papers, based on different methods (quantitative and qualitative research, including case studies) and theoretical accounts (neoinstitutional, organizational, network theory, interpretative policy analysis, etc.). A comparative dimension of the papers is welcome, and the comparison ought not to be restricted to the European countries, but also to the Mediterranean area countries and other countries as well. In addition, special types of Europeanization could be studied and discussed, according to the geographical or cultural clusters of states.

The EU (and other European organizations, such as Council of Europe) might be conceptualized as independent, dependent or intervening variable. However, the conference contributions should not be limited to the EU influence only, since it is hard to define the net impact of the EU. The EU can also be perceived as a translator of different doctrines and the globalisation trends.

The aim of the conference is to improve further understanding of the effects of the European integration on the public administration structure and functioning, public sector reforms and policy process in a comparative perspective.

The participants are invited to particularly discuss following issues:

  • to what extent has the EU influenced the public administration reform process, as well as the practices and structures evolved in national and subnational administration; this influence might be discussed as direct or indirect, having in mind that the net-impact of Europeanization is often hard to evaluate, and that the EU sometimes acts as a translator or catalyst of global influences, ideas and values (such as new public management, good governance, etc.);

  • the construction and implementation of administrative reform agendas, such as agencification, coordination, decentralization, managerial practices (HRM, strategic planning, financial management, etc.), public services, etc.; these can also be studied at the EU level as a bottom-up process;

  • the changing structure and practice of local governments and local public sector in the European context or under European influence; especially relevant is the effect of financial crisis on local governments, but also the growing pressure for greater political influence in local community or managerial approaches in governance of local and regional units;

  • implementation process of social policy in European countries (but not exclusively) and in the EU, detecting variations, convergent and divergent trends and outcomes, as well their causes; specific focus on results and prospects for comparative research on the implementation process in social policy field on macro, mezzo and micro level

  • what kind of effect or trends might be detected with regard to the human factor in public administration, especially with regard of professional public administration (HRM, ethics and integrity), political steering (leadership) and new trends (political advisors, etc.); Has the balance changed and in which direction and how does this change reflect the power dispersion?

  • what are the trends in the relationship between citizens and private sector on one hand, and the public administration on the other, with regard to the citizens’ rights and their influence on policy formulation and implementation; is the complex governance mechanism making them more distant and what is the role of politics in this respect; what rules and procedures are the expression of the convergent trends

  • what is the impact of economic and fiscal crisis on the public administration reform and public administration in general? What kind of austerity measures affect public administration and what is their impact on the effectiveness and other administrative principles and values? Is there any common pattern among European countries? How can this pattern be explained? To what extent has the crisis affected the EU administration?

Conference format

The main Conference will be organized in the format of chaired sessions during two and a half days (5th, 6th and 7th April). In each session up to four papers will be presented by the paper givers, and discussed by one academic.

The first day of the conference will be dedicated to the PhD workshop(s), depending of the number of applications, in which doctoral students of public administration and/or public policy will be able to present their current research framework and concepts and receive feedback from academics and other students.

Selection procedure, submission of papers and important deadlines

The selection of papers is based on the academic interests and current research of the invited candidates as well as their involvement in the corresponding research networks. The invited participants should send their abstracts (300-500 words) by 31 January 2013, as a final confirmation of their willingness to participate in the Conference. The notification of the acceptance of the papers will be made by the Organizing Committee by 07 February 2013. During February and March 2013 the participants will be invited to take over the roles of discussants and chairs. The deadline for draft paper submission is 25 March 2013. The papers will be posted on Conference website. The papers should not exceed 10.000 words limit.

A summary of important deadlines

31 January 2013 – Abstracts should be submitted to the Organizing Committee

07 February 2013 – Notification of acceptance by the Organizing Committee

25 March 2013 – Submission of draft papers