The Life and Death of Public Organizations: A question of Design?

R.A. Boin, S.L. Kuipers, M. van Steenbergen

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    Why do some public organizations grow old and others die young? Since Herbert Kaufman first posed this question, considerable research has been devoted to answering it. The findings of that research suggest that the design of new public organizations affects, to a significant degree, their survival chances. In this article, we test whether and how “design factors” affected the durability of the so-called New Deal organizations initiated under FDR's first term. Our findings confirm that design factors do matter, but their effects change over time. We draw out some potential implications for institutional design and sketch a renewed research agenda to determine why some public organizations survive environmental pressure whereas others succumb to it.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)385-410
    Number of pages26
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2010


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