The Principal-Agent Model and Inter-Organizational Relations

Edith Drieskens*, Yf Reykers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademic


This chapter assesses the explanatory power of the principal–agent (pa) model with regard to inter-organizational relationships in the united nations (un) context by focusing on the relationship between the un and regional organizations, as framed by chapter viii of the un charter. The introduction of this model to the study of international relations and organizations comes not only with challenges, but also with important opportunities. Most importantly, bringing the members (back) into the picture, it proves to be a relevant and workable research instrument for exploring and explaining how these institutions interact. This chapter discusses the main elements of the pa model, defining and contextualizing the notions of principal, agent, delegation, representation, autonomy and control. It reviews the relevant literature and defines the model’s limits and opportunities. In addition, this chapter discusses the model’s potential transferability to the fascinating but complex world of inter-organizational relations by zooming in on the relation between regional organizations and the un. It analyzes the intervention of the north atlantic treaty organization in libya in march 2011 through a pa lens, including its impact on the syrian dossier.keywordsunited nationsregional organizationchapter viiigulf cooperation councilinternational peacethese keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPalgrave Handbook of Inter-Organizational Relations in World Politics
EditorsJoachim Koops, Rafael Biermann
Place of PublicationBasingstoke/New York
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-137-36039-7
ISBN (Print)978-1-137-36038-0
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


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