Public Administration

Cover image for Public Administration

Edited By: Arjen Boin and Martin Lodge

Impact Factor: 1.518

ISI Journal Citation Reports © Ranking: 2014: 11/46 (Public Administration); 35/161 (Political Science)

Online ISSN: 1467-9299

Special Issue call for papers - Global Policy and Transnational Administration

Public policy studies have been bound by the Westphalian concept of sovereignty. Yet, increasingly at the transnational level there have been a proliferation of administrative practices and processes of policy-making and policy delivery beyond but often overlapping with traditional nation-state policy processes. New formal and informal institutions at the international level (i.e. transnational public administration) are behind these policy processes often in cooperation with national public administrations but sometimes quite independently from them.

Examples include practices such as the OECD’s standard setting and 'best practice' to the World Bank's 'global programs. There are many other 'multi-stakeholder initiatives', 'global public-private partnerships' and 'Global Commissions'. While policy norms and agendas may have global resonance, nevertheless the pattern of policy action can vary considerably. Implementation may occur at national or local levels in different countries more or less contemporaneously, or also in problem contexts that are cross-border and co-jurisdictional, hence our use of the term ‘transnational administration’.

These developments represent a challenge to traditional policy and public administration studies which have tended to undertake analysis of the capacity of public sector hierarchies to globalise national policies rather than to ask if there is transnational policy-making above and beyond the state. There is little conceptualisation of global public policy – policy that is either co-authored by states, in coalition with other actors such as in ‘global public private partnerships’ or ‘private’ global policy and of transnational public administration. This special edition calls for papers that interrogate the idea of ‘global policy processes’ and the emergence of various modalities of ‘transnational administration’.

Further Information:
Public policy scholars have adapted and recognised the impact of globalisation on the (welfare) state and administrative practices. However, the focus of much policy scholarship has been to address the impact of extra-state dynamics upon domestic politics. Studies are rather less likely to see the locus of policy power, decision-making processes and implementing authority as being above and beyond the state executed by transnational policy actors. Today, most introductory textbooks on public policy and administration devote a chapter to ‘globalisation’. More often than not, these chapters revolve around the question of how globalisation impinges on sovereign powers and decision making autonomy of national policy makers.

The wakening of policy studies and public administration to the idea of international, transnational or global policy and administration is in step with innovation in curriculum development. There are now a plethora of graduate degrees for students hankering employment in international organisations and NGOs to ‘manage’ global problems. Nevertheless, there remains a challenge to traditional policy and public administration studies for conceptual innovation and critical engagement with policy processes and administrative structures that are not only inter-connected with, but also analytically and politically “autonomous” from, national policy processes and bureaucracies.

Global policy processes are likely to be more fluid and fragmented due to the absence of clearly designated authority. The logic of the 'new public management' has encouraged private and public policy entrepreneurship in an international devolution and supra-national delegation of policy delivery. Likewise, policy transfer and international diffusion have contributed to the spread of policy tools and practices. NGOs, philanthropic foundations and companies have become important partners in the delivery and transnational administration of international public goods. For instance, the Global Commission on Drug Policy is an independent initiative supported by a partnership of NGOs and philanthropic foundations, albeit with the support of former presidents and senior international civil servants.

Transnational policy communities and networks have also proliferated. Alongside the mandate creep of international organisations and collaborations of these organisations in conjunction with other public and private actors within transnational policy communities, there is a fertile field for addressing the management responsibilities of international civil servants and a growing cadre of consultants, development specialists, expert advisors, etc. as global managers. As such, transnational administration can be undertaken by private actors and agencies. If the study of public administration is centrally concerned with the organization of public policies and programmes as well as the behaviour of officials formally responsible for their conduct, then there is a need to grapple with the idea of public administrators who are not public servants or who are not working in public sector organisations. Given the increased evidence of global policy processes and transnational administration, more work needs to be done in applying traditional public policy models and public administration theories to the new policy-making realities.

The guest editors seek conceptually informed papers that identify and interrogate (i) global policy processes, (ii) the constitution, character and effectiveness of global programs and partnerships, (iii) the emergence and nature of transnational public administration. The editors for this special edition will not be accepting papers with a specific focus just on European public policy or other regional policy processes in order to encourage a discussion of the global, inter-regional or transnational levels of administration. However, papers that address the transnational policy initiatives of regional organisations and the way they feed in to global public policies will be considered.

How to Submit a Paper:
All submissions will be blind peer-reviewed as per the usual review process of Public Administration. Papers should adhere strictly to the journal’s author submission guidelines. The deadline for submission is 1st June 2014. Papers should be between 6000-8000 words.

Please submit papers through the Public Administration Manuscript Central pages and be sure to select the “special issue” category for your paper. Enquiries regarding this special issue should be sent to the guest editors.

Guest Editors:
Professor Diane Stone, Murdoch University (and University of Warwick). Email:

Dr Stella Ladi, Queen Mary, University of London. Email: