The unwritten rules of the game : a case study of European funding distribution in Wales

Rumbul, Rebecca Anne (2012). The unwritten rules of the game : a case study of European funding distribution in Wales. PhD thesis The Open University.



This thesis examines the process of European Union funding programme and its implementation within a network context, and asks how institutional and network factors influence which organisations acquire funding. It is a case study which focuses on one European programme and one project partnership that was successful in gaining funds, and details the processes and influences that determined the way in which such programmes are developed and funds are distributed. Multi-Level Governance (MLG) is evident in the overarching structures supporting the interactions between Wales and the European Commission. The study critically analyses the significant pressures upon the development of funding instruments, and identifies the outcomes those pressures produce in terms of the focus and accessibility of programme fund ing. It demonstrates that in the implementation of such funding instruments, organisations that are structurally embedded with in a network and institutional environment will prove to be more successful in forming partnerships and gaining funding. The methodological approach is qualitative and relies upon semi-structured interviews, documentary evidence and observations in offering an account of the process of funding development, implementation and distribution. This study rejects the use of a sing le theory in understanding resource distribution and demonstrates the need for a multi-faceted approach that encompasses the institutional environment in which funds originate. The process of programme development within the main governing institution demonstrates the pressures of institutional values and bureaucratic norms upon the frameworks, providing evidence for the perpetuation of norms and the need for legitimacy as stronger influences upon programme design than the achievement of policy goals. The implementation of programmes and subsequent development of projects demonstrates the structurally embedded nature of successful organisations and the influence of governing inst itutions in the development of successful project bids.

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