The Market for International Organization

Saturday, 4 July 2015: 8:30 AM-10:00 AM
CLM.3.07 (Clement House)
Leonard Seabrooke, Frederiksberg, Denmark; Copenhagen Business School, Copenhagen, Denmark
A grundnorm of our contemporary international system is that interests can be largely assumed by organizational form. States pursue national interests under anarchy, international institutions follow their mandates via bureaucracies, non-governmental organizations advocate through networks, and firms seek profit wherever they can find them. This paper discusses why organizational form is not an indicator of established interests, and is an even poorer indicator of how professionals shape international organization.

I outline how there is an active market for international organization.

Organizations demand particular skills and knowledge. Professionals supply it.  These professionals also read themselves into the market and within this social system individuation is rife. Market mobilization often occurs at the interstices between perceived organizational forms, through the creation of styles that speak to different professional and social networks.

Examples of the market for international organization are provided, including the rise of consultancy-type professionals in humanitarian work, and professionals working across organizational types on international financial reform. The implications of this market for power politics are twofold. First, those with unique skills and knowledge can steer how policies and operations work. Second, certain power players strongly encourage this market because it places more knowledge and resources at their disposal.