The Blind Spots of Public Bureaucracy and the Politics of Non‐Coordination

  • Tobias Bach
  • Kai Wegrich

Part of the Executive Politics and Governance book series (EXPOLGOV)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvii
  2. Conceptual Foundations

  3. Blind Spots and Attention Bias

  4. Bureaucratic Politics: Reputation, Blame, and Turf

  5. Achilles’ Heels and Selective Perception

  6. Implications

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 239-239
    2. Tobias Bach, Kai Wegrich
      Pages 241-261
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 263-269

About this book


How to better coordinate policies and public services across public sector organizations has been a major topic of public administration research for decades. However, few attempts have been made to connect these concerns with the growing body of research on biases and blind spots in decision-making. This book makes that connection. It explores how day-to-day decision-making in public sector organizations is subject to different types of organizational attention biases that may lead to a variety of coordination problems in and between organizations, and sometimes also to major blunders and disasters. The contributions address those biases and their effects for various types of public organizations in different policy sectors and national contexts. In particular, it elaborates on blind spots, or ‘not seeing the not seeing’, and different forms of bureaucratic politics as theoretical explanations for seemingly irrational organizational behaviour. The book’s theoretical tools and empirical insights address conditions for effective coordination and problem-solving by public bureaucracies using an organizational perspective.

Tobias Bach is Associate Professor of Public Policy and Administration at the Department of Political Science, University of Oslo, Norway. 

Kai Wegrich is Professor of Public Administration and Public Policy at the Hertie School of Governance, Berlin, Germany.


bounded rationality organization theory coordination selective perception bureaucratic politics public sector organizations unintended consequences administrative limits executive government organization of bias attention bias complexity hybridity path dependency myths and symbols administrative leadership professional integrity goal attainment system maintenance

Editors and affiliations

  • Tobias Bach
    • 1
  • Kai Wegrich
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of OsloOsloNorway
  2. 2.Hertie School of GovernanceBerlinGermany

Bibliographic information