Orchestration: Global governance through intermediaries

Kenneth Abbott, Philipp Genschel, Duncan Snidal, Bernhard Zangl

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

112 Scopus citations


This chapter develops a conceptual framework for analyzing orchestration, a mode of governance widely used by international organizations (IGOs) and other governance actors, but rarely identified or analyzed. IGOs engage in orchestration when they enlist intermediary actors on a voluntary basis, by providing them with ideational and material support, to address target actors in pursuit of IGO governance goals. Orchestration is thus both indirect (because the IGO acts through intermediaries) and soft (because the IGO lacks control over intermediaries). These features distinguish orchestration from traditional hierarchical governance, which addresses targets directly through hard instruments; from governance through collaboration with targets, which is direct but soft; and from delegation, which is indirect (because the IGO works through an agent) but hard (because the IGO can control the agent). The chapter elaborates the concept of orchestration,identifies common patterns and techniques, and advances hypotheses regarding the conditions under which governance actors in general and IGOs in particular can be expected to rely on orchestration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationInternational Organizations as Orchestrators
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages34
ISBN (Print)9781139979696, 9781107082205
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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