No One in Charge: A New Theory of Coordination and an Analysis of US Civil-Military Coordination in Afghanistan 2001 - 2009
Strimling Yodsampa, Andrea.
Abstract: This dissertation challenges the argument common in the scholarly
literature and policy discourse on peacebuilding that the way to achieve coordination in
peacebuilding is to establish a strong, overarching coordination authority. While some
degree of centralization may be possible and desirable among organizations nested within
an overarching bureaucratic system, centralized coordination ... read moreis not an option within the
peacebuilding system writ large. The sovereign nations, non-governmental organizations,
and other autonomous and semi-autonomous actors engaged in peacebuilding simply will not
accept an overarching coordination authority. The dissertation argues that the question
that has driven much of the literature and policy discourse - how to establish a stronger,
more effective, overarching coordination authority - must be reframed. The more
policy-relevant and theoretically interesting question is: How is coordination achieved
when no one is charge? In posing and seeking to answer this question, the dissertation
draws inspiration and insights from a small, interdisciplinary body of research that
frames coordination in peacebuilding in terms of negotiation among autonomous actors,
decentralized networks, and complex systems. This includes work in the fields of
international relations, conflict resolution and peacebuilding, humanitarian relief, and
development. Building on this prior research, the dissertation develops a new theory of
coordination that emphasizes the explanatory power of multi-stakeholder processes and
organizational structures and systems. It does this in three steps. First, it defines
coordination in terms of results and identifies the variables hypothesized to explain
coordinated results. Second, it analyzes US civil-military coordination in Afghanistan
within and across four periods between 2001 and 2009. Third, it uses the empirical
analysis to test the hypotheses and build a theoretical model of coordination. The
dissertation concludes by identifying implications for theory, as well as for policy and
practice. While the dissertation is grounded empirically in peacebuilding, the findings
are potentially relevant to other contexts in which coordination is necessary but no one
is in charge.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Tufts University, 2011.
Submitted to the Dept. of Diplomacy, History, and Politics.
Advisor: Peter Uvin.
Committee: Eileen Babbitt, and Antonia Handler Chayes.
Keywords: International Relations, Public Policy and Social Welfare, and Peace Studies.read less