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Organizational Ecology and Institutional Change in Global Governance

41 Pages Posted: 15 Jul 2013 Last revised: 18 Apr 2015

Kenneth W. Abbott

Arizona State University

Jessica F. Green

Case Western Reserve University - Department of Political Science

Robert O. Keohane

Princeton University - Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs

Date Written: March 9, 2015

Abstract

The institutions of global governance have changed dramatically in recent years. New organizational forms – including informal institutions, transgovernmental networks and private transnational regulatory organizations – have expanded rapidly, while the growth of formal intergovernmental organizations has slowed. Organizational ecology provides an insightful framework for understanding these changing patterns of growth. Organizational ecology is primarily a structural theory, emphasizing the influence of institutional environments, especially their organizational density and resource availability, on organizational behavior and viability. To demonstrate the explanatory value of organizational ecology, we analyze the proliferation of private transnational regulatory organizations (PTROs), compared to the relative stasis of intergovernmental organizations (IGOs). Continued growth of IGOs is constrained by crowding in their dense institutional environment, but PTROs benefit from organizational flexibility and low entry costs, which allow them to enter “niches” with limited resource competition. We probe the plausibility of our analysis by examining contemporary climate governance.

Keywords: organizational ecology, climate change, international institutions, private governance, international organizations, organizational strategies

Suggested Citation

Abbott, Kenneth W. and Green, Jessica F. and Keohane, Robert O., Organizational Ecology and Institutional Change in Global Governance (March 9, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2293678 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2293678

Kenneth Wayne Abbott (Contact Author)

Arizona State University ( email )

Box 877906
Tempe, AZ 85287-7906
United States
480-965-5917 (Phone)

Jessica F. Green

Case Western Reserve University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Cleveland, OH 44106
United States

Robert O. Keohane

Princeton University - Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs ( email )

Princeton University
Princeton, NJ 08544-1021
United States

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