International Research Network

Cultures of Intervention

Peace Operations as Organizational Action

Organizational Action

United Nations Peace Operations as Organizational Action
Research project / 2010-2012 / New York, Liberia
Contact: Joel Winckler

United Nations Peace Operations as Organizational Action – Exploring the daily usage of management and reference mechanisms in multidimensional peacekeeping operations

A number of research projects and studies have focussed on the challenges and difficulties of implementing mandates, policies and programmes of United Nations peacekeeping operations in post-conflict situations. The aim of this research project is to analyze the organizational procedures, which assist UN officials to manage these challenges and difficulties in their daily work. Two crucial questions frame the research interest of this project:

  1. How do organizational procedures help UN officials in the field to cope with the ambiguities of their daily working life in the face of a highly uncertain social and political environment?
  2. How does the use of organizational procedures contribute to the development and adaptation of the programmatic framework of UN peace operations?

For this purpose, the study focuses on the analysis of communication mechanisms within the UN administration, its peacekeeping missions and field offices. The aim is to identify communication mechanisms and reporting lines within the UN peacekeeping mission and between mission and UN headquarters and analyze the use of these lines of communication as part of the daily work of the UN officials. The final aim of the project is to judge the added value of these procedures towards the programmatic adaptation of the policy framework of UN peace operations as well as their implementation in the field.

The research is based on an in-depth field study of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) and its interconnections with the UN headquarters in New York. Research on other missions will be used for comparative reasons. Methodologically, the research will be conducted by a mix of semi-structured interviews, background discussions, participatory observance and a survey. The Project is financed and supported by the Elsa-Neumann-Fund of the State of Berlin and the German Academic Exchange Service.

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