Survey  data was employed to test the following hypothesis: The organisational structure of legislative assistance in the EP affects the behaviour of legislative staff.
What are organisational structures?

Organisational structures are formal rules that specify who shall do what and how regarding the allocation of tasks, responsibilities and authority in a given organisation. They consist of different structural components, which describe the complexity, formalisation, centralisation and configuration of the organisation.

Which are the organisational structures in the EP?

Several structures organise the work of legislative staff in the EP. The study took into consideration job rank, committee specialisation, area of work, function and the political group staff work for.

What were the sub-hypotheses?
Hypothesis 1a:
Involvement in legislative assistance increases with job rank.
Hypothesis 1b:
Administrators employed in the General Secretariat are involved more frequently in legislative assistance than the political advisors working for political groups and accredited parliamentary assistants.
Hypothesis 1c:
Staff who follow the work of at least one committee are involved more frequently in legislative assistance than staff who do not follow the work of committees.
Hypothesis 1d:
Individuals working on economic and scientific policy are involved more frequently in legislative assistance than others.
Hypothesis 1e:
The involvement of staff in legislative assistance depends on the political group staff work for.
For what purpose?

The purpose was to see how the organisation of legislative assistance, rather than the relationship between MEPs and their aids, affects the behaviour of legislative staff. Organisational structures are interesting to study, because they operate as means to control administrative behaviour. An alternative way to study the behaviour of legislative staff is to observe staff’s relationship with MEPs. In academic literature this is known as the principal-agent relationship, where hypotheses are based on the assumptions of rationality and interest maximisation.