Organizational Perspectives on Development Effectiveness: Comparing Aid Agencies’ Bureaucratic Politics and Practices

Research Workshop

Paris, 30.11.2023


German Institute of Development and Sustainability (IDOS)

The workshop offered the unique opportunity for a select group of scholars researching bureaucratic politics and practices of aid agencies to develop comparative perspectives on development effectiveness. We discussed empirically grounded and comparative work that takes either bureaucrats or aid agencies as their main unit of analysis and spoke to any of the following research questions:


  • To what extent do aid bureaucrats (really) pursue development effectiveness? 
  • What experiences exist with putting knowledge at the center of aid agencies? 
  • Under what conditions do aid bureaucrats use evidence to change practices? 
  • How do aid agencies as principals incentivize knowledge sharing by contractors? 
  • What drives the politics and practices of organizational learning in aid agencies? 
  • How do aid bureaucrats navigate incentives for and against learning from failure? 


The workshop comprised nine paper sessions following the same format: a twenty-minute presentation by an author, two rounds of prepared comments (ten minutes each) and up to twenty minutes of discussion.

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