Flexibility and Stability of International Negotiation Systems
The institutionalisation of international negotiating systems contributes to the efficiency of international governance when the latter provide an optimal mix of both stability and flexibility. The project focuses on this mix from the perspective of reflexive-institutionalism, which emphasizes the role of ideas and institutional design. The production and diffusion of focal ideas contributes to the stabilization and institutionalisation of multilateral negotiations. Once institutionalized, focal ideas are reified and reproduced in institutional processes of justification, arguing and persuasion and become an impediment for flexible adaptations of the system. In three case studies the project examined how these impediments can be overcome without endangering the stability of institutionalized cooperation. The connectivity of new ideas, the activities of ideational management by institutional actors, and the design of institutional channels in which understanding about new ideas can be created are decisive for the success of such efforts.