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Time to ReactThe Efficiency of International Organizations in Crisis Response$
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Heidi Hardt

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199337118

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199337118.001.0001

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Informal Relations: Friends and Foes

Informal Relations: Friends and Foes

(p.165) 7 Informal Relations: Friends and Foes
Time to React

Heidi Hardt

Oxford University Press

Building on evidence presented in Chapter 5, this chapter explains the second part of the book’s argument about institutional culture. Specifically, a climate of positive interpersonal relations among actors at international organizations helps to speed up their responses to crises. Equally, negative relations can lead to slower responses. The chapter begins by giving evidence that the majority of critical decision-making occurs outside of formal channels through bilateral informal negotiations or through multilateral social networks. It then applies Principal-Agent Theory to explain the process of ambassadors gaining trust at their respective peace and security committees and to explain the role of information asymmetries among ambassadors and their capitals. In detail, the chapter traces the process of establishing positive interpersonal relations and the critical role that trust plays in access to critical information. After information is shared, ties are strengthened and consensus can be more easily achieved. After having examined the role of interpersonal relations in organization efficiency, the chapter proceeds to discuss how social networks among groups of actors within international organizations affect speed of response. The author categorizes and explores dominant types of networks observed across organizations and concludes that both informal relations and informal networks can positively ( negatively) affect speed of response.

Keywords:   International organization, Efficiency, Crisis response, Interpersonal relations, Principal-Agent Theory, Trust

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