Universität KonstanzExzellenzcluster „Kulturelle Grundlagen von Integration“

Strategic Management in Peace Operations

An Organizational Analysis of Post-conflict Police Reform in Afghanistan and Kosovo

Steffen Eckhard


Police reform after violent conflict is a complex but vital endeavor. More than ever, providing public security as a means of development following conflict has attracted the attention of policymakers who manage international aid and post-conflict reconstruction. The World Bank’s most recent World Development Report states “that strengthening legitimate institutions and governance to provide citizen security, justice, and jobs is crucial to break cycles of violence.” Yet, the success rate of security sector reform and peacebuilding operations is mixed at best. At the core of this problem is a fundamental lack of knowledge about the determinants for successfully transforming public institutions after conflict.

One often overlooked determinant includes the institutional structure of interventions. Both policymakers driving reform activities at the United Nations peacekeeping bureaucracy and also some recent findings in the scattered literature on opening the “black box” of international organizations have acknowledged the impact of organizational settings on policy outcome. Nonetheless, in the post-conflict peace operation literature, this acknowledgement has not led to a coherent research agenda that takes into account the organizational perspective, including both international organizations and state bureaucracies as intervening agencies.

This project seeks to partially fill in this research gap. It focuses on the strategic management of police reform activities by the Organization for Cooperation and Security in Kosovo after 1999, by Germany in Afghanistan after 2001 and by the European Union in Afghanistan after 2007. In hopes to enhance knowledge on the public management of peace operations, the study asks: What factors facilitate or impede strategic policymaking and implementation in post-conflict police reform? What difference does it make for police reform whether it is conducted by international organizations or single states?

The project aims to make a dual contribution. First, in the subject area of post-conflict police reform and peace operations, it directs attention to the often disregarded internal organizational perspective of peace bureaucracies. It analyzes the factors that account for the quality of strategic management and its impact on the outcome of police reform in two very different countries. Second, it compares how the different institutional contexts of international organizations and state bureaucracies affect strategic management of police reform activities. The project thereby will add to the surprisingly small literature that compares the performance of these types of actors in international peace governance.