In modern large organizations there is often a strong belief in reform - that it is possible to change organizational structures, processes and ideologies from above and by rational choice and design. This volume sets out to explain three phenomena: that reforms occur (even if they show little signs of success), the contents of reform (why reformers propose specific solutions), and the effects of reforms. In the reform persepective, the reformers, their intentions and abilities, as well as features of the reformed organizations are considered important explanatory factors. In the book it is argued that more significant explanations can be found outside reformers and individual organizatrions. Reforms are the result of attempts at modernization, shifts administrative fashions, the existence of insoluble administrative problems in organizations, and the organizational tendency to forget previous reform experiences. The contents of the reform reforms are determined by strong rationalistic conceptions of organizations as well as by strong administrative fashions. Reforms may stabilize and legitimze common conceptions of organizations rather than leading to real changes an better results. The book is based on a large number of studies of attempts of administrative reform in private and public organizations. Nils Brunsson is Professor of Management at the Stockholm School of Economics and Chairman of the Board at Stockholm Centre of Organizational Research (SCORE). Johan P Olsen is Research Director of ARENA (Advanced Research on Europeanization of the Nation-State), a basic research program under the auspices of the Research Council of Norway, University of Oslo. He is also Adjunct Professor, Department of Administration and Organization Science, at the University of Bergen (Norway).