Case Study on Canada’s Decision-Making Process to Renew with UN Peacekeeping Missions

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 08:42
Oral Presentation
Eric OUELLET, Royal Military College of Canada, Canada
In October 2015 the Canadian government confirmed its intention to renew with UN peacekeeping missions, and in August 2016 pledged up to 600 troops and 150 police officers for a mission to be determined later on. As of September 2017, the actual mission has not been announced yet.

Scholarly literature on decision-making about the use of force tends to rely significantly on rational decision-making assumptions. This goes against findings in institutional theory showing the importance of non-rational dynamics, which has been used recently to study military-related decision-making. Considering recent developments in institutional analysis, providing greater roles to individual actors, a case study on Canada’s decision-making process to renew with UN peacekeeping missions represents an interesting opportunity to advance both the application of institutional analysis to military-related decision-making, and make a case for better recognizing the centrality of non-rational factors.

This research focuses on cognitive and normative level justifications and perceptions used throughout the decision-making process by the various actors, and identifies their underlying mental schemata, norms and values as distinct institutional logics. These logics are then analyzed to assess their degree of alignment to one another, and whether they interacted in ways that were layered, conflicting, converging, or parallel.

This research will rely on documentary analysis of material available in the public domain, and as much as possible on releasable internal documentation on the topic. This will be augmented by semi-structured interviews with as many key actors as possible. A snowball technique will be used to find participants. The interviews will be used to identify institutional logics that might have been missed, or incorrectly interpreted through the documentary analysis. The empirical work is expected to be completed in early 2018.