Quotation Kornberger, Martin, Meyer, Renate, Brandtner, Christof, Höllerer, Markus. 2017. When Bureaucracy Meets the Crowd: Studying “Open Government” in the Vienna City Administration. Organization Studies. 38 (2), 179-200.




Open Government is en vogue, yet vague: while practitioners, policy-makers, and others praise its virtues, little is known about how Open Government relates to bureaucratic organization. This paper presents insights from a qualitative investigation into the City of Vienna, Austria. It demonstrates how the encounter between the city administration and “the open” juxtaposes the decentralizing principles of the crowd, such as transparency, participation, and distributed cognition, with the centralizing principles of bureaucracy, such as secrecy, expert knowledge, written files, and rules. The paper explores how this theoretical conundrum is played out and how senior city managers perceive Open Government in relation to the bureaucratic nature of their administration. The purpose of this paper is twofold: first, to empirically trace the complexities of the encounter between bureaucracy and Open Government; and second, to critically theorize the ongoing rationalization of public administration in spite of constant challenges to its bureaucratic principles. In so doing, the paper advances our understanding of modern bureaucratic organizations under the condition of increased openness, transparency, and interaction with their environments.


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Publication's profile

Status of publication Published
Affiliation WU
Type of publication Journal article
Journal Organization Studies
Citation Index SSCI
WU Journalrating 2009 A
WU-Journal-Rating new FIN-A, MAN-A+, STRAT-A, WH-A
Language English
Title When Bureaucracy Meets the Crowd: Studying “Open Government” in the Vienna City Administration
Volume 38
Number 2
Year 2017
Page from 179
Page to 200
Reviewed? Y
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0170840616655496
Open Access N


Kornberger, Martin (Details)
Meyer, Renate (Details)
Brandtner, Christof (Former researcher)
Höllerer, Markus (Details)
Research Institute for Urban Management and Governance FI (Details)
Urban Management and Governance (Meyer) (Details)
Institute for Public Management and Governance IN (Details)
Institute for Organization Studies IN (Details)
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