OPERATIONALIZING “WHOLE-OF-GOVERNMENT” AS AN APPROACH TO STATE FRAGILITY AND INSTABILITY: CASE STUDIES FROM OTTAWA, CANADA AND LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM
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Whole-of-Government (WoG) is a form of collaboration that occurs between any number of government departments; however, over the past 20 years the word has been adopted by international security and development actors as an approach to navigating the complex issues associated with state fragility. Implementing a WoG approach in such a context involves policy analysts, humanitarian workers, diplomats, military personnel, bureaucrats and politicians. Departmental priorities, organizational cultures, accountability frameworks, access to resources and shifting political interests are just a subset of the barriers involved with such an undertaking. The primary goal of this thesis was to enhance our understanding of the organizational attributes that determine how WoG is operationalized in practice. Interdisciplinary literature reviews and two case studies were completed in order to develop a framework for WoG that describes key organizational barriers to and incentives for designing, managing, evaluating and enhancing WoG initiatives. The research was advanced through four stages. First, the conceptual meaning of WoG was examined using Rodger’s evolutionary approach to conceptual analysis. Second, a preliminary theoretical framework of 10 operational attributes of WoG was developed. Third, the phenomenon of WoG was examined through the creation and evolution of two WoG instruments: Canada’s Stabilization and Reconstruction Task Force (START) and the United Kingdom’s Stabilisation Unit (SU). The final stage of the research involved returning to the previously developed theoretical framework and modifying it based on the insights gleaned from the case analyses. The final framework evolved to better reflect the dynamic relationships that exist between operational attributes. It is not a road map for operationalization; however, it strives to highlight key factors to be considered in the design, implementation and evolution of WoG initiatives. The results of the research emphasize that investing in WoG requires the thoughtful consideration of how organizational systems can enable or prevent cross-boundary collaboration and that an important aspect of developing a WoG organizational capacity involves investing in individuals with key skills and attributes. In this sense, the final framework provides a management perspective on WoG that is underexplored in some disciplines.