Ombudsman as a Global Institution

  • Tero ErkkiläEmail author
Part of the Public Sector Organizations book series (PSO)


This chapter examines the ombudsman as a global institution and presents the theory, methodology and research design of the book. The ombudsman institution has spread globally, covering all regions and most independent states. The chapter outlines the existing literature on the ombudsman institution concerning the institution’s development and patterns of diffusion. The chapter argues that along with the spread of the institution, its institutional development has also become global, meaning that its national instances are increasingly involved in transnational processes, where the institution is being shaped. The new institutionalist framework presented provides insights for understanding both continuity and change in the institutional evolution of the ombudsman. The sociological variant of institutional analysis provides a basis for understanding the global dissemination of institutional ideas, its cultural aspects and rationalities, which are also identified in the global spread of the ombudsman institution. There are also clear ideational changes around the institution: the ombudsman institution has been shifting between the semantic fields of administrative law, human rights and good governance. This has influenced its institutional development. The chapter provides theoretical tools for understanding the role of actors in crafting, translating and editing transnational policy ideas and organizational models on ombudsman as a global institution of “public accountability”, as well as “politicization” of its institutional mandate.


Ombudsman Human rights Good governance Organizational models Diffusion Accountability 


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© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Political Science, Faculty of Social SciencesUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland

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