Dr. Grant Jones is Senior Lecturer in the Graduate School of Management of Macquarie University. He earned his Ph.D. at the University of Canberra. He has taught Strategic Management and Organizational Behavior in the context of private sector management and Political Science and Public Policy in the public sector context. In 2004, Dr. Jones co-authored Renegotiating the Environment: The Power of Politics with Associate Professor Jenny Stewart; in 2006, he co-authored Contemporary Issues in Management and Organizational Behavior with Dr. Peter Murray and Dr. David Poole.2006 0-7734-5740-2
This book pushes the boundaries of the new institutionalism as defined by March and Olsen (1984). The new institutionalism developed from the rallying cry “institutions matter.” They matter because they determine the kinds of political behavior that are supported and the pattern of outcomes that can be expected to arise from that behavior. Orthodox institutionalism had been concerned with the political structures that become instituted and persist over time. The new institutionalism included matters arising from the sociology of institutions including the roles that political actors play and the norms of behavior that they recognize and to which they readily submit themselves. According to March and Olsen, these normative elements become part of the institutional structure.
The analysis in this book takes up the possibilities inherent in the new institutionalism to apply social theory. First, it applies a traditional structural functionalist perspective to develop role types that describe parliamentary action. Then it validates those role types empirically. Having done this, the analysis applies more recent developments in social theory. In particular, it applies the structuration theory of Anthony Giddens to examine how the enactment of roles brings into being particular structures. These structures are not continuous features of parliamentary life but recur over and over again as the situations to which they respond arise. These structures give shape and meaning to parliamentary committees. The committees are reshaped, not in the conscious and planned manner of the institutional sculptor, bur rather as the parliamentarians put their preferred parliamentary roles into action. This analysis pushes the sociological analysis of parliament that was introduced by March and Olsen to its logical conclusion, which is that members of an institution shape and reshape their institutions as they use them.
This is the first time that structuration theory has been explicitly applied to any parliament, and the first time that social analysis has been used as a means to understand the conduct of Australian houses of parliament.