The Quest for Legitimacy: On Authority and Responsibility in Governance Defended on Thursday, 2 May 2002

Although authoritative governance is ubiquitous in modern society, the nature of authority is one of the most neglected and understudied topics in economic, political and organizational theory today. This study aims to correct for this lacuna. Its main conclusion is that there is no such thing as an unambiguous concept of authority. Its is argued that both authority and responsibility in governance should be conceived in institutional rather than conceptual terms, and that the quest for legitimacy that is indissolubly tied up with any understanding of authority, ultimately involves a problem of institutional design.


legitimacy, authority, intervention, responsibility, norms, normativism, dirty-hands, institutional agency theory, trustworthiness, institutions of governance, institutional theory and design, normative and ontological theory of institutions and organizations

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