Decision Making within International Organizations

Decision Making within International Organizations

Decision Making within International Organizations

Decision Making within International Organizations

Synopsis

Following the end of the Cold War and in the context of globalization, this book examines the extent to which member states dominate decision making in international organizations and whether non-state actors, for example non-governmental organizations and multinational corporations, are influential. The authors assess the new patterns of decision-making to determine whether they are relatively open or closed privileged networks. The organizations examined include the Council of Europe, the United Nations, the EU, G8, the World Trade Organization, International Maritime Organizations, the World Health Organization and the OECD.

Excerpt

Ever since the Treaty of Westphalia, a system of states and of diplomatic relations between them has dominated the world. Although the rise of international organizations in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century was widely recognized as an important development, wars and growing interdependencies emphasize the relevance of states for studying international relations and security. Yet states are increasingly confronted with a wide variety of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), which represent an astonishing range of different interests, and rapidly develop their own networks, resources and arenas. But NGOs are not the only organizations whose relevance and visibility has increased. International (or intergovernmental) organizations like the OECD or the IMF challenge and enhance the traditional position of the state by representing member states on the one hand, and facilitating their own interests on the other.

In the chapters in this volume, the authors deal with the question of how international organizations make use of the policy autonomy they have. This question is not easy to answer, since an enormous number of different organizations exists, which all differ in the degree of policy autonomy in specific areas of their activities. Moreover, academic debates on the study of decision-making processes in international organizations are characterized by an astonishing variety of rival approaches, concepts and methods. It is for these reasons - the apparently incredible diversity of organizations, policies and explanations - that the editors attempt to identify the main problems and prospects of studying international organizations in their introductory chapter. Their plea for a revitalization of the study of policy making within international organizations is based on the unambiguous recognition of the need to combine rationalist and constructivist approaches. They also recommend the use of middle-range theories to account for the outcomes of decision-making processes in international organizations. Only if these two recommendations are followed will our understanding of the ways international organizations use their policy autonomy vis-à-vis their member-states be advanced.

After the editors present a very ambitious research agenda in their extensive introduction, twelve thoroughly accomplished studies of decision-

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