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The Structure of Collective Conflict Management Networks: Looking Beyond the Intuition of Networks

Gaëlle Pellon



Drawing from the results of an empirical study of the conflict in South-Ossetia (Georgia) and building on social network analysis and inter-organisational theory, this contribution challenges current IR approaches of inter-organisational cooperation in conflict management. Collective conflict management is conceptualised as a dynamic system of a selected set of actors engaged in persistent and structured inter-organisational relations. Using the new Database On Inter-Organisational Relations In Conflicts, the article applies the two-mode network thinking to inter-organisational cooperation and examines three key but neglected issues dealing with how inter-organisational networks are governed, how they evolve over time and what is the outcome of inter-organisational relations at the level of the whole network. The main findings are threefold. First, the study shows that the South-Ossetian network is a new kind of lead-organisation governed network, the lead-clique governance, where network governance occurs through several cohesive groups of organisations. Secondly, the variations of inter-organisational activity across time demonstrate that there is a significant rise in organisational overlap due to the ongoing process of network expansion. Finally, by studying the level of connectedness in the South-Osstian conflict management network, the article discusses the performance of the model of conflict management and opens a new research agenda further to study the network effects of other models of collective conflict management. Eventually, the article identifies what future directions might be taken by IR researchers who wish to go beyond the intuition of networks and to expand empirical research of inter-organisational relations in peace processes.

Keywords: inter-organisational relations, social network analysis, empirical settings, intergovernmental organisation, two-mode networks, South-Ossetia, Pajek


Bibliography: Pellon, Gaëlle: The Structure of Collective Conflict Management Networks: Looking Beyond the Intuition of Networks, ERIS, 3-2015, pp. 104-128.


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