Intergovernmental organisations (IGOs) are increasingly perceived as important actors in contemporary governance. Many problems confronting today’s societies are transboundary, leading states to increasingly rely on IGOs for policy solutions. Yet, research on IGOs as actors has for a long time been neglected in social sciences.
The session therefore seeks to advance this research by inviting contributions from scholars in International Relations, Public Administration, and Organisational Sociology that analyse IGOs as actors and, in doing so, devote their attention to the interior of IGOs, e.g. their organisational structure, institutional design, autonomy, bureaucratic practices, administrative styles, outputs, behavior, preferences, culture, or normative orientations. We are particularly interested in papers that adopt one of the two basic analytical perspectives that have been identified in existing research and have so far existed largely isolated from each other. On the one hand, we welcome scholars who seek to assess and explain certain aspects of the interior of IGOs, which indicate that IGOs are indeed actors in their own right. On the other hand, we invite scholars who use such aspects as starting point when assessing and explaining the effectiveness or performance of IGOs as actors.
By bringing together these scholars, we intend to stimulate a discussion between both perspectives about opportunities (and obstacles) to develop a common or at least comparable conceptual and empirical understanding of the interior of IGOs. Ultimately, this could be used to establish a unified research framework that allows tracing the causal chain from the determinants of the interior of IGOs to its consequences on effectiveness or performance of IGOs. As intended byproduct, we also expect the discussions to contribute to a consolidation of concepts and empirical findings within each group of scholars on which future research can draw.