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Accountability as a Differentiated Value in Supranational Governance

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Dorte Sindbjerg Martinsen, Torben Beck Jørgensen

Accountability differs in its meaning, scope, and impact. Consequently, its expression as a value and an instrument of “good governance” differs across time within and between organizations. Through the prism of theories on public values, this article examines accountability as a value in the administration of the European Union, that is, the European Commission. The article presents a theoretical discussion of value hierarchies, causality, and conflicts. Theoretical suggestions are included in an empirical examination of value conflicts in the administrative reforms of the European executive. It is argued that organizational characteristics of the European Commission condition value implementation. The article finds that although accountability appears as the “good value per se,” its applied period is brief and its status is contradicted by conflicting values.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Review of Public Administration
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)742-760
StatePublished - 2010

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