CfP: Inter-organizational Relations and World Order

12. 11. 2019

Dear colleagues,

the following CfP on Inter-organizational Relations and World Order might be of interest to some of you.

All the best,
Ulrich Franke and Martin Koch


Call for Papers

Inter-organizational Relations and World Order
Organizers: Ulrich Franke and Martin Koch
14-15 May 2020
Bielefeld University


Inter-organizational relations are omnipresent in world society and increasingly contributing to world order. They encompass states and non-state entities such as intergovernmental organizations (IGOs), non-governmental organizations (NGOs) or informal fora – be it in the case of relations among the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Trade Organization (WTO), and the World Bank; the relations among permanent members in the UN Security Council; relations between the United Nations and the Groups of Twenty (G20) and Seven (G7); or even relations between FIFA, Transparency International, and multilateral enterprises. Whereas scholars in sociology, psychology, administration science, organizational studies and economics address the topic since the 1960s and 1970s when an understanding of organizations as open systems arose, the field of inter-organizational relations gained more importance among IR scholars over the last ten years. When it comes to analyzing inter-organizational relations IR scholars often refer to theories developed in neighboring disciplines such as resource dependence and network accounts, regime complexity, and sociological neo-institutionalism. Even though the field has flourished in the recent past, IR scholars still tend to underestimate both the theoretical meaning and the empirical relevance of the full spectrum of this field. As a consequence, this workshop aims to understand and analyze two interrelated issues:

(i) the various forms and characteristics of inter-organizational relations;
Studies dealing with inter-organizational relations often focus either on their competitive or cooperative character. In doing so, relations are depicted either as bad and undesired or as good, productive and efficient. At the workshop, we thus aim at unveiling different forms of inter-organizational relations that might not fit into the narrow distinctions of competitive vs. cooperative or of good vs. bad relations. Instead, we welcome contributions exhausting the full spectrum of diverse kinds of inter-organizational relations. Since inter-organizational relations are often limited to dyads of IGOs, it is neglected that organizations interact with a myriad of actors in their environment and that these actors are not just IGOs or states but can be NGOs, enterprises, expert organizations etc. Potential questions in this context are: How are organizations constituting inter-organizational relations embedded in their environment? What different kinds of inter-organizational relations can be distinguished? What different kinds of organizations are involved in inter-organizational relations and do the modes of relations vary across the type of organizations involved? And what commonalities and differences can be found among various inter-organizational networks of relationships?

(ii) the ways inter-organizational relations contribute to world order.
Besides the variety of forms we are also interested in how inter-organizational relations contribute to world order and the different types of world order emerging from inter-organizational relations. What ideas guide those who contribute to world order through inter-organizational relations? Do these ideas strengthen state sovereignty or supra-nationality, military or civil solutions, multilateral or unilateral strategies of action, global distributive justice or exploitation? Are these ideas remaining stable or do they vary depending on the concrete relationships with other organizations? And what commonalities and differences can be found among the contributions to world order by various international organizations and their respective inter-organizational networks of relationships?
Addressing these questions, the proposed workshop builds bridges between two rather separated strands of literature, namely (a) work on international organizations and their relations as well as (b) work on world order and its dynamics.


We invite submissions for the workshop hosted by the Institute for World Society Studies at Bielefeld University. Potential contributors to the workshop should explicitly deal with the questions listed above. In doing so, the planned publication will be characterized by a high level of cohesion and thus can have a significant impact on ongoing discussions of both inter-organizational relations and world order. The deadline for submission of abstracts (300 words) is January 12, 2020. Please submit your abstract to both and . Decisions will be made within two weeks.

The submission deadline for the paper is April 30, 2020. Authors of accepted papers are expected to attend the entire workshop. In order to allow for in-depth discussion of each paper, participants are also expected to read the papers before the workshop. There is no conference or registration fee. Travel and accommodation will be (partially) funded by the Institute for World Society Studies.