December 02, 2019

Political Studies Review Article Traces Evolution of Modern Ombuds

The latest issue of the academic journal includes an article, "What Is an Ombudsperson? Global Diffusion, International Standardization, and Institutional Diversification." The authors, Norman J. Dolan and Colin J. Bennett, are on the faculty at the University of Victoria. 

Here's article abstract:
The global diffusion of administrative institutions such as the Ombudsperson office provides clues into wider questions of democratic development. Explanations of institutional diffusion tend to assume, however, that the essential character of the institution remains relatively stable. While the office of the Ombudsperson has become a potent symbol of administrative fairness and independence in defense of the individual against the powerful public agency or corporation, we show that the essential identity of this office has changed over time. As the number of agencies calling themselves ombudsmen has proliferated, the number of functions performed have diversified, shaping public perceptions and expectations. The article describes this pattern of institutional diversification into a widespread network of classical, executive, organizational, and advocacy ombudspersons. The institutional proliferation has led to processes of institutional standardization, and an increasing motivation to defend the ombudsman “brand” to justify its status and distinguish its place within different political and administrative systems.
(Political Studies Review.)

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