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In 2005, the Dutch electorate rejected the European Constitution by referendum. The Balkenende II-administration had already signed the treaty, and had an interest in its ratification. However, public support indicated by early polls slipped away as its campaign commenced. The government’s campaign attracted negative attention, with some believing that it contributed to the negative referendum-outcome. To explain how this sub-optimal strategy came to be, this study combines theoretical insights on bureaucratic politics, organizational culture, and cognition. Looking at the Taskforce established within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Political Control Group leading the campaign, the study’s findings support that bureaucratic roles, procedural scripts, and cultural rationales were present in the decision-making process between November 2004 and June 1st 2005, and subsequently led to defective decision-making.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen