Institutions, organizational culture, and counterinsurgency operations : why do states fight similar insurgencies differently?
Title: Institutions, organizational culture, and counterinsurgency operations : why do states fight similar insurgencies differently?
Author: DEVORE, Marc
Citation: Comparative strategy, 2013, Vol. 32, No. 3, pp. 169-191
Series/Number: [Global Governance Programme]
ISSN: 0149-5933; 1521-0448
This study expands our understanding of how states respond militarily to threats and challenges by examining how organizational culture and institutional policymaking structures shape states' use force. To evaluate the explanatory power of culture and institutions, I analyze the effect of each variable on how the United Kingdom and France conduct counterinsurgency operations. To preview the conclusions, although both organizational culture and institutional structures provide insights into how states fight insurgencies, institutional structures are much more decisive in shaping outcomes. In states where policymaking institutions promote maximal political control of the armed forces, the result will be strategic satisficing, whereby restricted force is surgically employed, along with diplomacy, to achieve the state's limited goals while minimizing the risks of casualties and/or escalation. Contrarily, in states where institutions accord operational autonomy to the armed forces, commanders will pursue their preference for decisive military victory through applying overwhelming force and conducting operations that risk escalating conflicts. In contrast to institutions, organizational culture plays a more modest role, limited to shaping how military leaders initially conceptualize the challenges they face and the techniques they employ at the tactical level. Thus, institutional structures, rather than organizational culture, offer a more convincing argument for why similar states, facing comparable challenges, use force in systematically different ways.
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