Call for Papers for the 2012 European Group for Public Administration (EGPA) Annual Conference in the area of 'Public Administration, Technology & Innovation' (PATI) and Special call for papers on 'Management and Innovation in State-owned Enterprises', 5-8 September 2012, Bergen, Norway.
Apr 12, 2012.

Call for Papers EGPA 2012
5-8 September 2012, Bergen, Norway

PSG: Public Administration, Technology & Innovation (PATI) (

Deadline for abstracts: June 1 (decision by June 7)
Deadline for full papers: August 1
Queries and submissions: Erkki Karo

General call for papers

Technological developments of the last decades have brought the co-evolutionary linkages between technology and public sector institutions and organizations into the center of both economics and public administration research. Technologies can, arguably, make public administration more effective, efficient, transparent and more accountable; but they can also cause problems with privacy, sustainability, legality, and equality, to name just a few examples. Recent public sector austerity measures (and attempts at lean government in general) may thwart socio-political efforts to foster technological innovation; but they can at the same time lead to greater willingness of governments to adopt new technologies and management principles based, directly or indirectly, on technological innovations. The challenge to public administration research is not only to trace and understand these linkages, but to find working solutions to these apparent trade-offs, and even to investigate the nature and permutations of the techno-administrative interface generally.

We are inviting papers dealing with theoretical or empirical topics looking at either side of the co-evolutionary perspective of technological and institutional development, i.e.:

  • the role of public administration in technological progress and innovation (e.g., public procurement for innovation; governance and management of critical/ infrastructure industries for innovation; public and private foresight in technology & innovation)
  • the role of technology and innovation in the trajectories of public administration.

Special call for papers: Management and innovation in state owned enterprises

In addition to the general PATI topics we are also inviting papers for a special PATI session leading to a peer-reviewed special issue on management and innovation in state owned enterprises.

'State owned enterprise' (SoE) as a developmental concept has almost iconic standing in heterodox development literature. For a few centuries, state ownership of key enterprises or entire sectors was seen as one of the fastest ladders to climb away from the darkness of underdevelopment. As a concept, SoE describes diverse set of institutions from transport service companies to development banks to national telecommunication carriers. Since the 1980s when privatization and open economy rhetoric took the centre stage in ideologies and policies, SoEs have been losing its' ideological and policy space. Still, in developed countries, SoEs have remained rather prevalent institutions in the economy particularly in sectors such as health care, transportation, and others and also important contributors to the GDP and employment.

In developing countries, on the other hand, the international policy discourses led by Washington Consensus protagonists have elicited 'privatization' of SoEs as the best and almost only efficiency enhancing strategy. Yet, the experiences of especially East Asian economies led by China have shown that managerial reforms, or 'corporatization' of SoEs, may be an alternative strategy for SoE development, and even a precondition for successful privatization. Further, the research of the experience of East Asian economies and BRICS countries has shown that for understanding the development of SoE functions, structures and innovation capabilities one has to take into account the interactions, or co-evolution, of external politico-economic conditions (such as autonomy from political goals and steering) and internal firm-level capabilities (from financial resources to R&D capabilities).

The theoretical or analytical complexity of linking politico-economic factors and internal capabilities is also extremely important for understanding the potential of SoEs for being dynamic actors in innovation and economic development. The techno-economic changes of the 1980s and 1990s have introduced new dynamics into the politico-economic factors of developing economies (democratization, globalization, financialization, international trade regimes, modularization of production and emergence of global production and innovation networks etc.) and shifted the demands on internal capabilities development (e.g., strategies for technological development from 'make', 'buy' to 'ally'). These changing dynamics have made politico-economic steering and internal capabilities management a critical and co-evolutionary task where SoEs may follow rather different development trajectories, e.g.,:

  • building endogenous strategies, management systems and technological capabilities for upgrading and innovation (e.g., Brazilian Petrobras building world-leading offshore drilling capabilities);
  • acting as a more distant financer of development and innovation through diversification (e.g., Arab oil funds financing the development of innovation cities);
  • competing directly with private sector firms for technologies, customers and market share (e.g., SoEs in dynamic industries such as ICT and medicine).

With this call for papers we invite theoretical, comparative (regional, country, or sectoral) and case-study-based submissions on the dynamic role of SoEs in economic development that look holistically at the specific cases of the co-evolution of politico-economic and internal capabilities developments of SoE at, or near to, the technological frontier of specific industries. We invite submissions of examples from ongoing developments in the developing economies, but also lessons from the newly industrialized and developed economies where the dynamic capabilities building of SoEs has contributed to industrial restructuring and economic development. We define SoEs as enterprises where the state has the controlling share (or is the largest single shareholder, or has the 'golden share'), which explicitly enables the state to steer the development strategies of the SoE in terms of technological development and innovation strategies. Also, we do not limit this call into specific sectors or industries, but invite papers on cases or examples where SoEs have tried to move on the technological ladder towards the technological frontier, or try to diversify (either as a company or as financer of national development strategies) from traditional (e.g., primary resource industries) into new industries or sectors with higher innovation intensities.

In this context, the potential research questions are as follows:

  • How have the shifting politico-economic factors affected the strategies of dynamic capabilities development in SoEs?
  • How have the shifting politico-economic factors affected the politics-SoE relationships (political and managerial autonomy of SoEs, types of embeddedness) and how has this affected the development potential of SoEs?
  • What kind of industry-level and firm-level strategies have been used by developing and catching-up economies for successful capabilities building in SoEs?
  • How do governments cope with competitiveness and development challenges and restructuring needs of SoEs in declining industries? Can SoEs be effective agents for financing technological development and industrial capabilities building?
  • What kind of policy capacities, policy interventions and management capabilities are needed for successful steering of SoE development strategies towards dynamic capabilities building?

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