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Thomas Blanchet


Freie Universität Berlin
Fachbereich Wirtschaftswissenschaft
Graduiertenkolleg: „Pfade organisatorischer Prozesse“
Garystr. 21
D-14195 Berlin

Tel.: +49 (0)30 838-57180
Fax: +49 (0)30 838-57186
Email: thomas.blanchet @ fu-berlin.de

Thomas Blanchet

Dissertation topic:


Breaking the policy path? The (non)diffusion of public-private partnerships in the German water sector.


This dissertation project looks at the recent evolution of the German water sector. Typically, German water operators are under municipal control and aim at fulfilling a public task. For several decades however, they have been confronted with a new environment, characterised by financial pressures, liberalisation threats and privatisation. While some city councils have decided to rely on a private partner in order to cope with this new environment, the diffusion of public-private partnerships has in general remained largely controversial. Under what circumstances do such partnerships occur? Taking the case of three German municipalities where contrasting water policies have unfold over time, this study focuses on the role of actor coalitions in maintaining or disrupting a water policy process and therefore aims at contributing to the conceptualisation of path breaking change



Since 04/2008:
Member of the doctoral program „Research on Organizational Paths“

Master of Art, Sociology, University of Nantes, title of the master thesis : “Culture and Innovation in the water utilities. A comparative analysis Germany – France.


Studies in Sociology at the university of Nantes and Leipzig

Research Experience:

11/2007 - 04/2008:
Research assistant at the Centre Marc Bloch, project: “The learn paths of the territorial governance in the Eastern Europe”

11/2006 - 07/2007:
Master Thesis at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research UfZ (Leipzig/Halle), project: “Water 2050 – Chances for the German water management”

06/2006 – 08/2008:
Practical experience at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research UfZ (Leipzig/Halle), project : “The evaluation of the Pilot 2006 Environmental Performance Index”


10/2009 – 03/2010: Lectureship in organisation theory at the Institute of Social Sciences, Humboldt-University, Berlin


Research interests:


  • Critical infrastructure studies
  • Organisation theory
  • Local governance
  • Public administration
  • Path dependence




  • 2010: «Légitimités asymétriques et hybridations organisationnelles face à l’importation de pratiques étrangères: le cas du secteur de l’eau dans l’Allemagne réunifiée», Critique Internationale, 48 (3), 53-75  (with Coeurdray M.).
  • 2010: When Local Government Meets Global Organization: A Path Dependence Analysis of the German Water Sector Between Stability and Change, 26th EGOS Colloquium, Sub-Theme 07 on Organizing the Public Sector: How Can We Strike the Right Balance between Globalism and Parochialism?, Lisbon, Portugal, June 28-July 3rd.
  • 2009: “Gouvernance locale et «path dependence» dans la gestion des services urbains: le cas de l’eau et de l’électricité à Leipzig”, Gouverner le local à l’Est de l’Europe - Acteurs publics et acteurs économiques transnationaux, Centre Marc Bloch, Berlin, 26-27 November.
  • 2009: “Le secteur de l’eau en Allemagne: entre changements organisationnel et résistance citoyenne”, 3ème congrès de l’Association Française de Sociologie, Paris, 14-17 April (with Coeurdray M.)
  • 2008: “German resistance to European economic integration : the striking example of public utilities”, European Consortium for Political Research, Standing Group on the European Union, Panel on “Resistance to European integration and the EU polity, Riga, 25-27 September. (with Coeurdray M.)