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date: 26 June 2022

Key Actors in the Management of Crises: International and Regional Organizationslocked

Key Actors in the Management of Crises: International and Regional Organizationslocked

  • Eva-Karin GardellEva-Karin GardellDepartment of Security, Strategy and Leadership, Swedish Defence University
  •  and Bertjan VerbeekBertjan VerbeekDepartment of International Relations, Radboud University

Summary

In crisis-ridden times, when events like the COVID-19 pandemic, acts of terrorism, and climate change-induced crises are making constant headlines, states, businesses, and individuals alike look to international organizations (IOs) to help them weather the storm. How can the role of IOs be better understood in the context of crisis and crisis management? For a start, it requires a distinction between objective and subjective crisis perspectives in studying IOs. From an objective perspective, IOs are examined as unitary actors that have the aim of contributing to the stability of the international political system. On the other hand, in a subjectivistic approach, IOs’ actual crisis management is the focus. In this perspective, the emphasis is on an IO’s internal life, that is, its perceptions, bureau politics, and decision-making. In the exploration of these issues, IOs can no longer by studied as entities but have to be unwrapped into small groups and individuals, such as members of secretariats or member state’s top politicians. As borne out by theories developed by scholars of crisis management and foreign-policy analysis, centralization and cognitive bias are of special interest in the study of IOs. IOs’ crisis management has four crisis phases and tasks: sense-making, decision-making, meaning-making, and crisis termination. Finally, crises may prove a threat to, or an opportunity for, IOs. Transnational crises may usher in IOs’ foundation and flourishing, or they may contribute to IOs’ demise.

Subjects

  • Governance/Political Change
  • International Political Economy
  • Policy, Administration, and Bureaucracy
  • Political Behavior
  • World Politics

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