European Commission, migration and the external dimension : a study of organisation
The thesis examines how the European Commission incorporated and implemented migration policy as part of the European Union’s external relations, also known as the external dimension of migration. The focus of the thesis is on the period between the coming into force of the Amsterdam Treaty in 1999, when migration largely came to fall under the Commission’s remit, and the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty in 2009. The study compares how the Commission’s Directorates-General (DGs) involved in the external dimension of migration during this period—Justice, Liberty and Security, External Relations and Development—made sense of the changes introduced to their responsibilities. The thesis proposes that the concept of organisational culture, drawn from organisational sociology, can explain how actors interact with and collectively make sense of their organisational environment. The main argument of the thesis is that each of the DGs possesses an organisational culture based on its members’ shared readings of priorities and the function of their unit. The thesis examines these divergent organisational cultures to gauge how policies are internalised and translated into output. The analysis contributes to the external governance literature, which has theorised the external dimension of migration as a continuation of European integration processes without accounting for internal organisational dynamics. It also leads to reflections on organisational sociology theorising, and the implications of the findings on studies of organisational change and implementation. This thesis is divided into five chapters. The first provides a background for how the Commission came to be involved in migration policy. The second provides a theoretical framework for the study, building on organisational sociology. The remaining chapters empirically analyse the three elements of organisational culture: DG members’ sources of organisational identity, their perceptions and prioritisations of the external dimension of migration, and their reading of the Commission’s implementation practices, focusing on relations with Morocco as a tool for illustrating the latter.