How did environmental governance become complex? Understanding Mutualism between Environmental NGOs and International Organizations

International Studies Review

39 Pages Posted: 7 Sep 2021

See all articles by Jessica F. Green

Jessica F. Green

University of Toronto - Department of Political Science

Jennifer Hadden

University of Maryland - College Park

Date Written: September 3, 2021

Abstract

Recent IR scholarship has adopted the perspective of organizational ecology to explore a range of questions related to organizational emergence, strategy, and death. These studies draw attention to organizational competition as the mechanism underpinning important transformations in global governance. We argue that existing work in IR that uses organizational ecology has overlooked the importance of another strand of sociological theory that focuses on dynamics of mutualism between organizations. We illustrate the importance of mutualism by focusing on a crucial case: the evolution of different “populations” of organizations working in environmental governance during its critical 1970-1990 period. Our analysis demonstrates that as the environmental consciousness of the 1970s took hold, INGOs increasingly captured new resources and stimulated new attention to the issue. Rather than viewing these new actors as competition, existing IOs sought to incorporate and legitimate INGOs, promoting their growth. And in turn, INGOs sought to support and legitimate the activities of the existing IOs, promoting growth of Secretariats and treaties. Our account offers an important organizational-level story that shows that dynamics of mutualism help account for the increased complexity of global governance.

Keywords: organizational ecology, environmental governance, NGOs, international organizations, governance complexity

JEL Classification: F55

Suggested Citation

Green, Jessica F. and Hadden, Jennifer, How did environmental governance become complex? Understanding Mutualism between Environmental NGOs and International Organizations (September 3, 2021). International Studies Review, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3916959

Jessica F. Green (Contact Author)

University of Toronto - Department of Political Science ( email )

Sidney Smith Hall
100 St George Street
Toronto, Ontario M5S 3G3
Canada

HOME PAGE: http://https://green.faculty.politics.utoronto.ca/

Jennifer Hadden

University of Maryland - College Park ( email )

College Park, MD 20742
United States

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