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Understanding the Institutional Dimension of Inter-Agency Collaboration: The Basic Model

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This report proposes a basic model to study the role of institutional dynamics in the context of interagency collaboration. It constitutes one of the deliverables of a Defence Research and Development Canada DRDC research project that seeks to develop high level models of collaboration behaviour and decision making, developing psycho-social conceptual models, and exploring potential mechanisms for overcoming social and cognitive barriers to collaboration. The specific purpose of the proposed model is to provide an initial set of interrelated hypotheses to understand how institutional dynamics can facilitate or hinder interagency collaboration in a Canadian domestic context of national emergency, involving among others the Canadian Forces, the Canadian police, and the Department of National Defence. The report first introduces the sociological notion of institutional legitimacy in the wider context of understanding how social order is produced and maintained. Some findings from a review of the literature will be presented to illustrate how the military and the police forces in Canada, as institutions, founded their social legitimacy. Then the report provides a survey of the three key dynamics upon which institutions are maintaining, reinforcing, and defending their legitimacy. These dynamics, in following the seminal work of Richard Scott, are described as regulative, normative, and cognitive. In each case, indicators, sources of data, and methodological issues are discussed. In addition, the specific idiographic components of these institutional dynamics for Canadian military and police are presented. Lastly, possible rules for encoding these dynamics into a computerized synthetic environment are proposed. The report also looks beyond Scotts institutional analysis and presents the unconscious dimension of institutional dynamics. The report represents a first attempt at formalization of institutional dynamics in a meta-organizational context.

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  • Government and Political Science
  • Sociology and Law
  • Psychology
  • Military Forces and Organizations
  • Civil Defense

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