In January 2012, I organised an international author workshop on inter-organisational relations in International Relations (IR). The workshop brought together 30 scholars and practitioners in order to exchange during two intense days their research and experience on the topic. The workshop created an excellent network for further activities (including the Palgrave Handbook of Inter-organizational Relations in World Politics) and research.
Whether it is cooperation and rivalry between security organizations, partnerships amongst international financial institutions, or the growing networks between International Governmental Organizations (IGOs) and Nongovernmental Organizations (NGOs), the phenomenon of ‘inter-organizationalism’ has become an important aspect of world politics and global governance during the last two decades.
Yet, despite a growing number of insightful empirical case studies dealing with IO-IO relations across a wide range of policy fields, there is still a considerable lack of systematic theoretical approaches and conceptual tools for analyzing core features, main dynamics and key recurrent variables related to the convergence of, as well as the cooperation and competition between, major organizations. As a result, political scientists working in the field of International Relations (IR) have so far not been able to formulate an overarching ‘inter-organizational theory’. Indeed, the continuing state-centric nature of IR has so far prevented deeper and more nuanced theoretical thinking on IO-IO relations. As a result, theoretically-oriented scholars have mostly relied on other disciplines (such as sociology, law, economics and management studies) or in few cases have drawn on institutionalist and regime theory approaches.
This two-day expert workshop brought together scholars and practitioners working on inter-organizational relations from a wide range of perspectives and disciplines in order to advance the collective build-up of a self-consciously IR-focussed theory of Inter-organizationalism.