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ECPR Standing Group on the European Union 10th Biennial Conference LUISS, Rome

How do International Organizations see their Environment, and how does it Matter?

International Relations
Panel Number
Panel Chair
Angela Heucher
Universität Potsdam
Panel Co-Chair
Andrea Liese
Universität Potsdam
Panel Discussant
Cleo Davies
University of Edinburgh

07/09/2017 09:00 - 10:40
Building: BL09 Eilert Sundts hus, A-Blokka Floor: 1 Room: ES AUD3
In this panel, we seek to explore how the bureaucracies of international organizations (IOs) perceive the environments in which they operate. Our first starting point is that IOs are not unitary actors within an empty space. Rather, they are embedded within a complex, dynamic and fluid environment characterized by different requirements as well as a multitude of different types of actors operating on multiple levels. How IOs perceive their environment and their role in it has an impact on how IOs act. Thus, our second starting point is that – next to organizational mandates or the interests of influential member states – international organizations’ perceptions matter for the way in which they act and conduct their activities on multiple levels of governance.

With our panel, we strive to link two academic debates: The first debate addresses linkages between IOs and their environment (cf. Brechin, Ness 2013), focusing on interactions between IO bureaucracies and the state, donor agencies, non-governmental organizations, local authorities and the private sector. The second debate centers on IO bureaucracies´ perceptions (cf. Broome, Seabrooke 2012), how they evolve, and on how they inform IO action, e.g. when providing policy advice to member states or when implementing projects in countries.

We welcome contributions that seek to answer the following questions: How do international organizations perceive the environment in which they operate? How do they understand the context “on the ground”? In what way do IO perceptions change over time? What explains this change? Which conditions are necessary from an IO perspective in order to become active in a particular setting? Are the same environments perceived differently by different international organizations? If so, why? In how far do IO perceptions of a particular context inform IO action within that context? To what extent are other drivers of IO action more decisive?

We are open to a broad range of papers which may analyze different international organizations, different country contexts and different issue or policy areas. While we take a constructivist stance, the panel is also open for contributions which assume bounded rationality and take a more rationalist perspective.

Paper List

Title Details
How do IGO Bureaucracies see NGO Partners? Past and Present Trends View Paper Details
International Organisations, Autonomy, and the First Permanent Secretariats in the 19th Century View Paper Details
Legitimation and Accountability: How the World Bank Reacts to Public Pressure View Paper Details
Seeing like an International Organization - How Perceptions of the Context 'on the Ground' Matter for International Organizations’ Governance View Paper Details
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