The Department analyses the impact of collective actors on decision-making system as well as determinants and dynamics underlying their influence. Two major research projects have been carried out: ‘Resources and activities of state elites’ (2012-2016) and ‘Participation of society in the decision-making processes of the state’ (2015-2018).
In the framework of the first project we focused on administrative elites of the state and their networks of multilateral relations with other elites. The central question was how cooperation and competition between officials and politicians affects the way decisions are taken in the state (or the efficiency of the governance processes). We also looked at types and quality of social and cultural resources of administrative elites and the ways they use these resources – not only in decision-making, but also for the purpose of adaptation or empowerment towards institutional environment. In 2013 the research team conducted 50 structured interviews with (deputy) directors of the ministries as well as 3 case studies on legislative decisions with the participation of the elites under study.
The second project looks at the citizen legislative initiative (popular initiative) that constitutes a tool of direct democracy within the Polish system of representative democracy. We look at constitutional underpinnings as well as the practice of the functioning of this institution in Poland. Assessment is based on two criteria: civic participation on one hand and formation of decision-making mechanisms and legislative process in the parliament on the other. The principal objective is to explain the low level of efficiency of this institution as well as its continuous usage, despite widespread public awareness of its disadvantages and limitations. Our method relies on case studies (purposeful sampling of heterogeneous initiatives), as well as existing materials and interviews with representatives of the citizen committees.