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Public Administration meets Peacebuilding : Peace Operations as Political and Managerial Challenges ; an Internat. Conference, Univ. of Konstanz, Germany, Juni 15-17, 2007 ; Conference Report

Public Administration meets Peacebuilding : Peace Operations as Political and Managerial Challenges ; an Internat. Conference, Univ. of Konstanz, Germany, Juni 15-17, 2007 ; Conference Report

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BLUME, Till, Julian JUNK, Wolfgang SEIBEL, 2008. Public Administration meets Peacebuilding : Peace Operations as Political and Managerial Challenges ; an Internat. Conference, Univ. of Konstanz, Germany, Juni 15-17, 2007 ; Conference Report

@inproceedings{Blume2008Publi-4348, title={Public Administration meets Peacebuilding : Peace Operations as Political and Managerial Challenges ; an Internat. Conference, Univ. of Konstanz, Germany, Juni 15-17, 2007 ; Conference Report}, year={2008}, author={Blume, Till and Junk, Julian and Seibel, Wolfgang} }

Seibel, Wolfgang Junk, Julian Junk, Julian Blume, Till Public Administration meets Peacebuilding : Peace Operations as Political and Managerial Challenges ; an Internat. Conference, Univ. of Konstanz, Germany, Juni 15-17, 2007 ; Conference Report 2008 Seibel, Wolfgang Blume, Till 2011-03-24T10:13:37Z The international dialogue organized at the University of Konstanz, June 15 17, 2007, explored two largely neglected aspects of United Nations (UN) peace operations: the administrative side of peacebuilding and the political side of international administration. Key topics were coordination, leadership, and learning as managerial and political challenges. Each of these three factors was addressed by panels composed of scholars and practitioners. Papers and discussions on coordination confirmed and supplemented mainstream interpretations of managerial challenges posed by complex peace operations. Although nonhierarchical modes of coordination are crucial in the interorganizational networks that characterize peace operations, hierarchy and classic bureaucracy remain important, if not dominant, components. Rather than dwell on informal coordination in the form of networking, students of peace operations should acknowledge the role of tightly coupled chains of command and hierarchical accountability.<br />The question of whether leadership as individual agency is a distinct component of management or rather an all-encompassing activity including effective coordination and successful learning remained unresolved during the conference. However, a widely shared view was that a mixture of social and political entrepreneurship, personal charisma, and political guidance constitutes the main ingredient of effective leadership in the framework of UN peace operations. The credibility of mandate enforcement, for instance, depends not only on determined and consistent action by leading field-level officials but also on continuous and unambiguous support from the UN Secretariat and the sponsoring nations. Learning is a pivotal notion shaping both the work of related departments of the UN Secretariat (e.g., the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, DPKO; and the Department of Political Affairs, DPA) and the perceptual patterns in the relevant literature. Triggered by the traumatic disasters of the 1990s (in Somalia, Rwanda, and Srebrenica, for instance), substantial progress has been made on the UN s strategic commitment to peacebuilding and its conceptualization. The relevant hallmarks of that advance are the Brahimi report (2000) and the final report of the UN High Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change (2004). However, power asymmetries, organizational compartmentalization, and national or professional identities restrict learning in matters of field tactics and performance. Acceptance of second-best options may be the best that managers of complex peace operations are able to achieve.<br />These observations lead to a general caveat: Many of the weaknesses and flaws of UN peace operations are part and parcel of the weaknesses and flaws of the entire UN system. They can be mitigated but will not be eliminated by intensified managerial efforts alone. UN peace operations, however benevolent in nature, remain a form of foreign intervention. Their state-building capacity is thus fundamentally limited not only by continuing hostility among conflicting parties but also by a widespread perception in both the target regions and the sponsoring nations that UN engagement is integral to western interventionism. Merely normative statements intended to improve coordination, leadership, and learning may therefore turn out to be illusory or misleading. Poor coordination may actually be due to problems stemming from cooperation that requires the consent of veto players or spoilers at all levels, including that of the central budgeting process. Poor leadership may just be the flip side of senior staff being confronted with unsolvable problems. Poor efforts to learn and a consequent dearth of learning effects may owe to what Karl W. Deutsch termed the ability to afford not to learn an insignia of real power.<br />The pervasive politicization of UN peace operations thus requires scholars and practitioners to refrain from applying textbook solutions to problems of coordination, leadership, and learning. What is required is pragmatism, the readiness to accept second-best solutions, and the ability to learn creative coping in an attempt to do justice to commonly accepted standards of morality and good governance as effectively as possible under existing circumstances. Knowledge and experience about the nature of coordination and learning in complex organizations is essential for successful management of peace operations. Ultimately, however, the quality of leadership is what determines the ability to cope with complex situations in peace operations. eng 2011-03-24T10:13:37Z application/pdf deposit-license

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