Agency autonomy - not that stable?

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper, not in proceeding


Building on the idea of path-dependency, studies on agency autonomy typically assume that de facto autonomy is relatively stable over time within national politico-administrative contexts. This assumption is challenged in this paper, which maintains that de facto autonomy may just as well be understood as a state in constant flux. The paper highlights the limitations of historical institutionalism in this regard, partly by comparing to assumptions in organization theory. To understand how de facto autonomy may change continuously over time, narratives from a longitudinal case study of a major Swedish agency are consulted. Results indicate that there is a need to move closer to the micro-level, everyday practices of agencies, to understand how autonomy unfolds in practice. They also indicate that there is reason to beware of assuming that de facto autonomy will remain relatively constant over long periods of time.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Economics and Business
  • Business Administration


  • Agency autonomy, agency identity, historical institutionalism, path-dependency, assumptions
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Publication categoryResearch
EventSWEPSA (Statsvetenskaplia årsmötet 2013) - Stockholm
Duration: 2013 Oct 2 → …


ConferenceSWEPSA (Statsvetenskaplia årsmötet 2013)
Period2013/10/02 → …