Vermittlung und Kritik in internationalen Organisationen


  • Ben Christian Leibnitz-Institut Hessische Stiftung Friedens- und Konfliktforschung


International organizations (IOs) are often confronted with contradictory external demands. How do they mediate between the conflicting expectations of their various stakeholders? Drawing on the concept of organizational hypocrisy, this article sheds light on the mediation efforts of IOs. Mediation is understood as the counter-coupling of organizational talk and action that enables IOs to deal with the diverging imperatives of being both a ‘political organization’ and an ‘action organization’. Among other things, this understanding of mediation offers an innovative perspective on the question of why internal criticism by employees often finds little support in IOs. Due to the (necessary) discrepancy between words and action, IOs’ criticism culture is undermined in two ways: (1) internal criticism is suppressed by IO leadership out of fear that the existing hypocrisy could be publicly exposed; and (2) it is a challenge for IO staff to constructively criticize their hypocritical organization without being naive or cynical.