Studying Relations Among International Organizations in World Politics: Core Concepts and Challenges

Joachim Koops, Rafael Biermann

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterResearchpeer-review


This introductory chapter provides an overview of the main definitions, dimensions and processes of inter-organizational relations and outlines major concepts required for understanding and analyzing inter-organizational relations in world politics. The chapter is divided into five sections. After a general introduction, Section 2 will clarify what we mean by ‘inter-organizational relations’ and will explore different definitions and dimensions of the concept and empirical phenomenon. This section will also clarify the meaning of ‘organizations’ in the context of the institutionalist rise in International Relations and will compare and contrast it with ‘regime’ approaches. Section 3 examines key concepts that have emerged as important tools for understanding and analyzing key processes and different stages of the ‘inter-organizational life-cycle’ from formation to cooperation/rivalry, impact as well as stagnation, deterioration and dissolution of relations. It will examine core explanations from neighboring disciplines and places them in the context of the rapid rise of international organizations during the Cold War. Finally, section 4 flags up the main theoretical and methodological challenges for students of inter-organizational relations and section 5 briefly describes the structure of this handbook.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPalgrave Handbook of Inter-organizational Relations in World Politics
EditorsJoachim Koops, Rafael Biermann
Place of PublicationBasingstoke
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Pages1 - 46
Number of pages46
ISBN (Print)978-1-137-36038-0
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jan 2017


  • inter-organizational relations
  • theories of inter-organisational relations


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