Double agents and the making of globalization: how global boardrooms shape the world polity

Image: Staff, Executive Board members and Management pose for a group photograph July 13, 2018 from International Monetary Fund Flickr account (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Event details


Date & time

Thursday 24 November 2022


Lecture Theatre 2, Hedley Bull Centre (130), Garran Road, ANU


Leonard Seabrooke (Copenhagen Business School); Alexander E. Kentikelenis (Bocconi Uni)


RegNet Communications

This event is hosted jointly by the Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs and RegNet.

Globalization is underpinned by international organizations—intergovernmental, non-governmental, or private—that develop policy scripts to diffuse around the world. We present an integrative model for understanding how boardroom dynamics within them impact the content of global scripts: we argue that board members balance dual roles as state representatives and socialized professionals when they interact and articulate their policy positions.

To document these processes, we focus on the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund, a body that decides on economic policy issues impacting the lives of billions.

First, at an individual level, we trace the education and career trajectories of all 727 board members—appointed by states—between 1980 and 2009. We find that they are homogeneous in terms of training, but heterogeneous in terms of professional backgrounds.

Second, we examine how the aforementioned attributes of Board members impact a key aspect of their boardroom behavior, and demonstrate differences in what they talk about.

Finally, at the boardroom level, we show how interactions of these professionals—cum—state representatives shape organizational output.

Our findings reveal that global script-writing is driven by professionalization and elite socialization dynamics in apex communities, even in intergovernmental contexts where the primacy of state interests is assumed to dominate.

About the speakers

Alexander E. Kentikelenis is Associate Professor of Political Economy and Sociology at Bocconi University. He has published extensively on decision-making in global governance, and the social consequences of economic policies.

Leonard Seabrooke is Professor of International Political Economy at the Copenhagen Business School. His research is concerned with how intergovernmental organizations, firms, NGOs, and consultancies develop policy scripts across a range of issue areas.

COVID protocols

The ANU strongly encourages you to keep a mask with you at all times (for use when COVID-19 safe behaviours are not practicable) and to be respectful of colleagues, students and visitors who may wish to continue to wear one. Please continue to practice good hygiene. If you are unwell, please stay home. The ANU’s COVID Safety advice can be accessed here.

This seminar presentation will be in-person only.

Image credit: Staff, Executive Board members and Management pose for a group photograph July 13, 2018 from International Monetary Fund Flickr account (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Updated:  10 August 2017/Responsible Officer:  Director, RegNet/Page Contact:  Director, RegNet