Meta-Organizational Perspective on Interest Intermediation in Multi-Level Governance Contexts: Theoretical Propositions and Empirical Illustrations from the European Knowledge Policy Domain

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 11:30
Oral Presentation
Martina VUKASOVIC, Ghent University, Belgium
Interest groups are political organizations considered to be an increasingly important channel for articulation of public interest in modern democracies (Richardson, 1995). While the burgeoning interest groups literature provides significant insights into interest groups populations, their status, lobbying strategies and success, their internal organizational dynamics constitute somewhat of a lacuna (Halpin, 2014) and we know far less about “how interest groups come to pursue specific goals” (Binderkrantz, 2015, p. 310). Moreover, insufficient consideration has been given to the fact that many interest groups operating within federal states or complex polities such as the EU are actually associations of national or local interest groups, i.e. they are meta-organizations (Ahrne & Brunsson, 2008).

This study will combine insights from comparative politics and organizational sociology (including the meta-organizational perspective) into a theoretical approach suitable for analysing the relationship between (1) organizational identity, status, policy positions and lobbying strategies of the meta-organizations, i.e. associations of interest groups and (2) the same organizational attributes of their members (national or local interest groups). The robustness and relevance of this theoretical approach will be illustrated with a case study of a European association operating in the knowledge policy domain.

The study will contribute to understanding how political meta-organizations and their members relate, in particular with regards to (a) effects of membership on meta-organizations, (b) power within meta-organizations, and (c) struggle for autonomy between meta-organizations and their members.

Ahrne, G., & Brunsson, N. (2008). Meta-organizations. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.

Binderkrantz, A. S. (2015). A missing link? Connecting agenda setting research and interest group studies. IGA, 4(3), 307-310.

Halpin, D. R. (2014). The Organization of Political Interest Groups: Designing Advocacy. London: Routledge.

Richardson, J. J. (1995). The market for political activism: Interest groups as a challenge to political parties. West European Politics, 18(1), 116-139.