Electronic Thesis/Dissertation


When Control Becomes Constraint: Organizations and the Transitional Occupation of Iraq Open Access

During the transitional occupation of Iraq, the United States (U.S.) largely failed to achieve its goals in both security and governance. Yet, on the other hand, the U.S. proved far more capable of achieving success in general humanitarian aid and reconstruction projects. What accounts for these different outcomes? If the U.S. could achieve success in humanitarian aid and general reconstruction, why was the U.S. unable to curb the rising insurgency and criminality to produce a safer and more secure environment? Similarly, why was the U.S. unable to better cope with the vast political conflicts and problems that emerged in the wake of the invasion to create more stable and effective national and subnational governance? This dissertation argues that understanding the variation in the outcomes in security, governance, and general humanitarian aid, requires taking a closer look at the organizations involved in the transitional occupation. Specifically, this dissertation tests the argument that when unanticipated circumstances emerge, newly built organizations not only tend to be ineffective and behave in counterproductive ways, but to also place greater constraints on leaders than older organizations. Indeed, this dissertation aims to show that variation in the age of the organizations involved in each sector can explain the variation in outcomes. To this end, this dissertation explores the shape and impact of U.S. organizations working in the security, governance, and humanitarian aid sectors, including: the Combined Forces Land Component Command (CFLCC) and the Combined Joint Task Force 7 (CJTF-7); the Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance (ORHA) and the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA); and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). In all, this dissertation aims to not only help explain the varied outcomes that occurred during the transitional occupation of Iraq, but also to contribute to the scholarly literature on organizational constraints. By exploring new ideas on the conditions under which organizational constraints emerge in foreign policy, I aim to bridge a gap in the literature that hinders an ability to view organizational constraints as systematic.

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