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Domestic Agencies and the Global Playing Field

His dissertation has been completed for more than a year, but due to corona the defence had been postponed. On Wednesday 30 September, Machiel van der Heijden will finally be able to defend his dissertation Transnational Networks and Domestic Agencies: Making Sense of Globalizing Administrative Patterns at Leiden University.

Van der Heijden's PhD research focusses on transnational collaboration between domestic agencies from a network-analytic perspective. Van der Heijden holds a MSc in Political Science and Public Administration (research) and a MA in Anthropology.

Van der Heijden focusses on the formation of these trans-governmental networks and the possible implications of these forms of collaboration on the regulation of globalizing markets. 'The transnational network has a big impact on the behaviour and the decision making processes of domestic agencies. In my dissertation I highlight the importance of creating a clear overview of the structures of these networks.'

Complexity Financial Sector

Analysing trans-governmental networks can be applied to various sectors and markets. Van der Heijden's research predominantly focuses on the financial sector. A deliberate choice, he says. 'If there's a sector where there is a present need for agencies to work together on a transnational level, it's the financial sector. It's a very complex and relevant sector. Because financial markets have become so intertwined, domestic agencies are forced to collaborate transnationally. You have to work together closely and there’s an urgent need to exchange information.

On-trend topic

It is also a very on-trend topic, considering the revelations last week by Dutch newspapers 'FD' and 'Trouw' about a Polish daughter of the Dutch ING bank that played an important role in the capital flight of billions of dollars from Russia. Funnelling that illegal money was done through what has become known as mirror trading, a new phenomenon that agencies take very seriously and that requires international collaboration. 'It's definitely an on-trend topic. Because of the continuing globalization of markets, the various forms of collaboration between agencies have become a lot more complex. In order to create a clear overview, I've added the component of the network-analytical perspective. It's all about looking at the structures of collaborations. Who's linked to whom? How do these collaborations operate exactly? What are the international standards and what are the resulting consequences?

Implications are misunderstood

Van der Heijden, who is currently working as Assistant Professor at the University of Utrecht, emphasises in his dissertation the importance for organisations to look at the consequences of transnational collaboration by domestic agencies. According to him, the implications of the increased globalization of domestic agencies' operations is still being misunderstood. 'Increasing flows of information are being channelled towards domestic agencies. They have to define their role in the global playing field and also how to defend their own interests. In my dissertation I also show some of the insecurities the agencies are having to deal with as a result. Because when you're having to collaborate transnationally, how do you know if those foreign partners are trustworthy? We're increasingly having to deal with boundary-crossing problems on a worldwide level. Which is why transnational collaboration is a necessity. But in my research, I also show that we shouldn't loose sight of the problems domestic agencies are likely to face as a result. Finding the right balance is an important challenge.'

You can follow Machiel van der Heijden's promotion on Wednesday 30 September between 15.00 and 15.45 via this livestream

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