Decision-making in United Nations peacekeeping operations : understanding the social processes that influenced decision-making in the United Nations mission in South Sudan from January to September 2014
Steeves, Jason Alan Mervyn
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SubjectDecision-making; Leadership; Peacekeeping
The civil war that started in South Sudan in December 2013 changed the country and it changed the scale and scope of the United Nations mission that was there to assist it. The purpose of this research was to uncover how the decision-making process was conducted in United Nations Mission in South Sudan and it examined the period of January to September 2014. It adopts the perspective of the individual actor and examines their lived experience in the decision-making process. The point of departure for this research is the notion that the internal experiences of the participants are key determinants of the efficiency and effectiveness of decision-making. There was no single body of literature that could provide insight into decision-making in UN peacekeeping operations. A wide range of literatures were used to illuminate an interdisciplinary field of knowledge that ranged from traditional political science to cognitive psychology. Grounded Theory was employed as this methodology provided the analytical flexibility to explore the lived experience of those that contributed to decision-making in UNMISS. It also provided sufficient rigour to develop a theory of how decision-making was conducted in UNMISS. The mid-range theory that emerged from the analysis was grounded in the data and it is a reflection of how people experienced and participated in the process. Key findings from this research are: UNMISS teams were challenged to develop a shared understanding of a complex adaptive system; trust was a critical component of the social process of decision-making; and, the emotional disposition of individual participants was a critical factor in the decision-making process.
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