SOG: Accountability and Welfare State Reforms

Structure and Organisation of Government (SOG) is a research committee of the International Political Science Association. SOG was established as a study group with IPSA in 1988, later becoming Research Committee 27. The group’s primary focus is the comparative study of executive branches and their changing roles in public policy making. At the centre of this focus are the dynamics of public bureaucracies and their relations with political executives and interests in civil societies, hence the title of its journal: Governance: An International Journal of Policy and Administration.

Marking the end of a four-year research project, the Uni Research Rokkan Centre and the Department of Administration and Organization Theory, University of Bergen are pleased to host the 2015 SOG Conference:

“Accountability and Welfare State Reforms”

  • Time: February 19th-20th, 2015
  • Venue: Scandic Bergen City Hotel, Håkonsgt. 2, Bergen, Norway



Professor Emeritus Johan P. Olsen, Arena, University of Oslo: “Democratic order, autonomy and accountability”

SOG Workshop Program program.

There has been a growing concern that welfare states are inefficient, not sustainable and lack popular support. A series of reforms have been introduced to address this challenge, following the principle of granting autonomy to welfare agencies and responsibility to public managers. This has created confusion over who is accountable to whom for what and with what effects. Some claim accountability overload while others point at accountability deficit and the links between accountability and performance is contested. Thus, the workshop addresses the dynamics between accountability and reforms. In unsettled situations, which often are the case during reform periods, one has to go beyond the hierarchical principal-agent approach to accountability and allow for more multi-dimensional accountability relations. Our aim is to understand how recent reforms oriented towards agencification, managerialism and marketization as well as whole-of-government initiatives have affected the existing accountability relationship in welfare traditionally delivered by public institutions. This SOG conference will broaden our joint understanding of these issues.

A password protected paper site is now available for participants/contributors (if cannot remember password, please contact

SOG Paper site




  • Paper proposal/abstract submission: September 15th, 2014.
  • Notification of acceptance: by September 30th, 2014.
  • Final paper submission: February 1st, 2015.


The conference will be held at Scandic Bergen City Hotel, which is conveniently located in the heart of Bergen’s city centre, close to attractions, transportation and the campus area. More information about the hotel can be found here

Organizing committee: Professor Per Lægreid from the Department of Administration and Organization Theory, University of Bergen, Senior Researcher Simon Neby at the Uni Research Stein Rokkan Centre for Social Studies, and Senior Researcher Kristin Rubecksen, also from the Rokkan Centre.

For further details on the conference, please contact Simon Neby at email or phone +47 5558 8364



IPSA Structure and Organization of Government:

SOG welcome

Uni Research The Stein Rokkan Centre for Social Studies:

Uni Research Rokkansenteret


Department of Administration and Organization Theory, University of Bergen:


AdmOrg, UiB


The Research Council of Norway:

File:The Research Council of Norway logo.png

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