Social innovations in local government : The case of local development agent

Veronica Junjan, Marton Balogh

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademic


    Background: There is an increased attention in the administrative reform literature accorded to the mechanisms governing the processes of institutionalisation of changes and of diffusion of innovations in local governments. Objectives: Current paper investigates mechanisms that influence the process of transfer and of institutionalization of norms, values, and rules in the process of public administration reform. The focus on this research project is to analyse the role that the Local Development Agent (LDA) has played in the institutional development and the transfer of norms, rules, values, in local governments in Romania. This project builds on the results obtained during research conducted by the DIOSCURI project (2005) in the subfield of public administration, which analysed the process of institutional introduction and transformation, development of hybrid solutions, and reciprocal learning. Method: In-depth interviews and focus groups were conducted with LDAs and mayors of towns and villages in North-West Romania, interviews following up on the first wave of measurement conducted in 2005, shortly after the LDA project was implemented. In this wave we aim to investigate perceptions of success (or lack thereof) of the LDA activity, measured from the perspective of both the LDA him/herself, as well as from the perspective of the mayor of the town or village where the LDA programme was implemented. Results: The results of the investigations suggest that institutional transfers have been focused primarily upon addressing the administrative capacity deficit. This has been done through implementing the position of LDA as change agent, with the aim to both provide the local government with the human resource needed for a set of skills that did not exist at the moment (such as project management) but also to provide an advisory role for the local governments interested to develop capacity in terms of absorption of EU structural funds. The implementation of the position has been analysed both in terms of intra organisational aspects ( such as contacts with other departments, attitudes of the co-workers, ) but also extra-organizational ones (such as contacts with colleagues with similar positions within other local governments).
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publication21st NISPAcee Annual Conference, Belgrade, Serbia, May 16-18, 2013
    Publication statusPublished - 16 May 2013
    Event21st NISPAcee Annual Conference 2013: Regionalisation and Inter-regional Cooperation - University of Belgrade, Belgrade, Serbia
    Duration: 16 May 201318 May 2013
    Conference number: 21


    Conference21st NISPAcee Annual Conference 2013
    Internet address


    • METIS-301646
    • IR-88953


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