Orchestration: Global Governance through Intermediaries

33 Pages Posted: 6 Aug 2012 Last revised: 13 Aug 2012

See all articles by Kenneth W. Abbott

Kenneth W. Abbott

Arizona State University

Philipp Genschel

European University Institute

Duncan Snidal

Nuffield College, University of Oxford

Bernhard Zangl

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU)

Date Written: August 6, 2012


This paper develops a conceptual framework for analyzing orchestration, a mode of governance that is widely used by international organizations (IGOs) and other governance actors, but rarely identified or analyzed. IGOs engage in orchestration when they enlist intermediary actors on a voluntary basis, by providing them with ideational and material support, to address target actors in pursuit of IGO governance goals. Orchestration is thus both indirect (because the IGO acts through intermediaries) and soft (because the IGO lacks control over intermediaries). These features distinguish orchestration from traditional hierarchical governance, which addresses targets directly through hard instruments; from governance through collaboration with targets, which is direct but soft; and from delegation, which is indirect but hard. The paper elaborates the concept of orchestration, identifies patterns and techniques of orchestration, and advances hypotheses regarding the conditions under which governance actors in general and IGOs in particular can be expected to rely on orchestration.

Keywords: International Organizations, NGOs, Global Governance

Suggested Citation

Abbott, Kenneth Wayne and Genschel, Philipp and Snidal, Duncan and Zangl, Bernhard, Orchestration: Global Governance through Intermediaries (August 6, 2012). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2125452 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2125452

Kenneth Wayne Abbott

Arizona State University ( email )

Box 877906
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Philipp Genschel (Contact Author)

European University Institute ( email )

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+39 055 4685 735 (Phone)

Duncan Snidal

Nuffield College, University of Oxford ( email )

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Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 1NF
United Kingdom

Bernhard Zangl

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU) ( email )

Geschwister-Scholl-Platz 1
Munich, DE Bavaria 80539

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