Organisations, Functions and Spaces: Institutional Logics and the Changing Shape of English Governance

Christopher Skelcher, Katherine Tonkiss, Matthew Flinders, Katharine Dommett

Research output: Contribution to conference (unpublished)Paper

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This paper draws on the institutional logics approach to analyse the reform of arm’s length public bodies (‘quangos’) by the UK’s Coalition government. This perspective provides a valuable way of analysing government reform because it recognises that logics are plural. Thus, reform can be conceptualised as a process of contestation resulting from the agency of strategic actors. Our central argument has two elements. First, that public bodies’ reform exposes a clash between the centrifugal ‘logic of discipline’ that rationalises the delegation of governmental roles and the centripetal ‘logic of democracy’ that requires politicians to exercise due authority. Secondly, it stimulates contestation between deeper logics within the machinery of the state – between legislature and executive, and government’s corporate centre and its departments. These zones of contestation are analysed drawing on a rich qualitative data set. We conclude that institutional logics offer new insights into the wider politics of governmental reform.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 2013
EventPolitical Studies Association Annual Conference, 54th -
Duration: 1 Jan 2004 → …


ConferencePolitical Studies Association Annual Conference, 54th
Period1/01/04 → …


  • governance
  • reform
  • coalition
  • quango
  • agencies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


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