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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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(p.1) 1 Introduction
Time to React

Heidi Hardt

Oxford University Press

This chapter offers a discussion of the relevance of international organizations’ efficiency in crisis response. It is framed in broader scholarly and policy debates on the effectiveness of peace operations. The chapter introduces the book’s argument that differences across organizations’ informal norms and networks can explain variation in organizations’ response rates in the context of conflict. This focus on informal factors challenges traditional explanations of decision-making in international organizations because they concentrate on the interests of individual member states. In an overview of the methodology, the author describes the use of elite interviews and discourse analysis to gain insider perspectives on decision-making from those actors directly involved in security negotiations. Survey-based interviews were specifically conducted with 50 ambassadors and more staff from four international organizations (the AU, EU, OAS, and OSCE). Following a discussion on how response rates can be measured, the subsequent section presents an original database of response rates. Finally, a sociological institutionalist explanation sheds light on why a more affluent organization, such as the EU, might prove more efficient than those with fewer resources and capabilities.

Keywords:   International organization, Efficiency, Crisis response, Decision-making, Sociological institutionalism

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