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Ideas, Bureaucratic Politics, and the Crafting of Foreign Policy

Author(s): Daniel W. Drezner


Source: American Journal of Political Science, Vol. 44, No. 4 (Oct., 2000), pp. 733-749
Published by: Midwest Political Science Association
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Politics,
and
Ideas,Bureaucratic
Policy
ofForeign
theCrafting
ofChicago
DanielW.Drezner University

There are several mechanisms


throughwhichideas are supposed to
influencepreferencesand outcomes,
is that
but one ofthe most important
ideas are embedded intoinstitutions.
This presumes thatonce idea-infused
institutions
are created, theywillsurvive and thrive.Bureaucraticpolitics
suggests thisoutcome is farfrom
certain.This articletakes a firstcut at
examininghow idea-infused,or 'missurviveand
sionary"institutions,
thrivein a worldof bureaucraticpolitics. Itsuggests thatmissionaryinstitutionsface a tradeoffbetween surAgencies thatare
vivingand thriving.
insulatedfromotherbureaucracies
have a betterchance of surviving,but
are unlikelyto influencethe broad
contoursof policy.The reverse is also
true;embedded agencies have a
much lowerchance of keeping their
ideationalmissionintact,but ifthey
are
do survive,theirodds ofthriving
greater.These hypotheses are examined by comparingthe evolutionof
the Peace Corps and the State DepartmentBureau of Human Rights
and HumanitarianAffairs.

relain theinternational
prominence
deashavetakenon a renewed

Thereareseveralmechanismsthroughwhichideas are
tionsliterature.
and outcomes,but one ofthemost
supposedto influencepreferences
Scholarsthatemphais thattheyareimplantedintoinstitutions.
important
(Finnemore1996; Checkel1997), epistemiccommusize constructivism
nities (Hall 1989; Haas 1992), or other approaches (Goldstein 1993;
in
the role of institutions
Goldsteinand Keohane 1993) have highlighted
pursuingideationalagendas.
Whilethisis a plausibleexplanationforhow ideas persistand determine foreignpolicy,it is incomplete.Nothingis said about the strategies
mustpursuein orderto surviveand thrivein a worldof
theseinstitutions
Such an explanationassumesthatonce
competingideas and institutions.
are created,the storyis over.The bureaucraticidea-infusedinstitutions
Bloomfieldnotes,
politicsparadigmsuggeststhatthestoryis just starting.
"Foritis thenthatan idea,howevermorallypowerfuland howeverauthenencounterstheinticallygroundedin thenationalpoliticalepistemology,
theforces,and thefallible(or obstreperous)humanbeingswho
struments,
implement(or thwart)... foreignpolicyprograms"(1982,2).
surviveand thrive?How successful
How do idea-infusedinstitutions
aretheyat promotingtheirideasaftertheirpoliticalsponsorspass fromthe
in theforscene?This articlewill arguethattheplacementof institutions
helpsto determinetheirabilityto surviveand thrive,
eign-policystructure
posways.Idea-infusedor "missionary"institutions
but in contradictory
insulationfromtheinfluenceof otherorganizationsare
sessingstructural
withtheirfoundingideas.Inmorelikelyto survivein a mannerconsistent
culturededicated
an
to
organizational
develop
the
sulationpermits agency
the introductionof competingideas or
to the foundingidea, preventing
ininstitution's
tactics.However,thisinsulationalso lessensthemissionary
bureaucracieswill
fluenceoverthe craftingof foreignpolicy.Preexisting
of newactorsintothepolicymixand
resisttheintroduction
automatically

ofChicago,5828
Professor
ofPoliticalScience,University
DanielW.DreznerisAssistant
SouthUniversity
Avenue,Chicago,IL 60637(ddrezner@uchicago.edu).
StudiesAssoat the1999International
Previousversionsofthisarticlewerepresented
at theUniversity
D.C. and at thePIPES workshop
Washington,
ciationannualmeeting,
MelanieKayAndersonfortheir
Kehland especially
to Jenny
ofChicago.I am grateful
M. Scott,Amy
I thankDelia Boylan,Don Moon,RolandParis,James
assistance.
research
referees
Alexander
SvenSteinmo,
Wendt,GregCaldeira,andthreeanonymous
Searight,
Theusualcaveatapplies.
andsuggestions.
fortheircomments
Vol.44,No. 4, October2000,Pp. 733-749
American
ofPoliticalScience,
Journal
?2000 bytheMidwestPoliticalScienceAssociation
733

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734

DANIEL

impose constraints.
The developmentof a strongorganizationalculturewillpreventthenew missionaryinstitutionfromcompromisingwithotheragencies.An insulated institutionwill be hard-pressedto overcome
bureaucratic
divisionsin spreadingitsideas.
In contrast,idea-infused institutionsembedded
withina morepowerfulbureaucracyhave a lowerprobabilityof survivalin theiroriginalform.Theymustcope
withgreaterpressuresthan insulatedagenciesand are
preventedfromdevelopinga strongorganizationalculture.Embeddedinstitutions
arelessimmuneto competing ideas. However,iftheydo survive,embeddedinstitutions have a greaterchance of thrivingover time.
Close interactionwithotherbureaucraciescan lead to
an increasein sharedideas and sharedunderstandings.
This may alterthe goals of the institution,but it also
transforms
the identityof the otherbureaucraticunits
by convertingthemto theirfoundingidea. Ideational
thusfacea tradeoffin establishinginstientrepreneurs
tutionsthatembodydearlyheldideas.Theycan increase
the odds forsurvivalat the cost of greaterinfluence,or
theycan gamble at enhancingtheirinfluencebut risk
extinction.
To testthismodifiedideationalapproach,I develop
twocase studiesof missionary
institutions
withdifferent
placementsin thefederalgovernment.
Bothinstitutions
are imbued witha set of ideas distinctfromthe restof
the foreignpolicybureaucracy:the UnitedStatesPeace
Corps and the State Department'sBureau of Human
Rightsand HumanitarianAffairs
(HA).'
This articleis intendedto contributeand critique
boththeideasand thebureaucratic
and
politicsliterature
to begina dialoguebetweenthetwo.The ideas literature
has been unable to disentanglethe effectof ideas from
theeffect
of materialinterests(Jacobsen1995). Previous
studiesof foreignpolicyideas,such as thecultof theoffensive (Van Evera 1984) or strategictrade theory
(Goldstein 1993), have been unable to separatethe intrinsiceffectof new ideas fromtheinfluenceof interest
groupsthatmateriallybenefitedfromthose ideas. The
casespresentedhereareselectedto separatethoseeffects.
Anotherproblemwiththeideas literature
has been
itsfailureto examinehow foreignpolicyis craftedwhen
cases
competingideascoexist.Too oftenin thisliterature,
are presentedwherepowerfulideas simplyoverwhelm
beliefsor values,leadingto a changein policy
preexisting
(Rohrlich1987). Commonsensesuggeststhatnewideas

W. DREZNER

will meet cognitiveresistancefromlong-heldbeliefs


(Jervis1976;Lebow 1981). One of theissuesthisarticle
can addressis how missionaryinstitutionssurvivein a
bureaucratic
junglewhereotheractorswillresisttheinjectionofnewideas.
This articlealso fillsseveralgaps in thebureaucratic
SinceAllison's(1971) EssenceofDecipoliticsliterature.
has fosion,thestudyof bureaucraticpoliticsliterature
cusedon thedescriptionof organizationalinteraction
as
a separatelevel of analysis(Welch 1992; Hudson and
Vose 1995;Sternand Verbeek1998) ratherthandeveloping positivetheoriesof action. The resulthas been an
endlessseriesof debatesabout the salienceof bureaucraticpoliticsin contrastto thepowerof sharedimages
(Krasner 1972; Art 1973; Khong 1992; Rhodes 1994),
presidential dominance, (Moe 1985; Bendor and
Hammond 1992), legislativedominance(Weingastand
Moran 1983),or all of theabove (Hammond and Knott
1996).The modifiedideationalapproachdevelopedhere
is nota generaltheoryofbureaucraticpolitics.However,
it does suggestthe originsof bureaucraticpreferences,
and likely
strategiesto maximizeorganizationalutility,
outcomes.In particular,the abilityof bureaucraciesto
use organizationalcultureas a means of propagating
ideas is crucialto determining
outcomes.The approach
used hereis consistentwithrecentrationalist(Bendor,
Taylor,and Van Gaalen 1987; Brehmand Gates 1997)
and constructivist
work(Legro 1996) emphasizingthe
role of organizationalcultureas an importantfactorin
bureaucratic
politics.
The casespresentedherealso correctsomeempirical
The bureaucraticpoliticsapproachhas fodeficiencies.
cused exclusivelyon crisisdecision makingin security
bureaucracies(Allison1971;Lebow 1981) at theexpense
of longitudinalanalyses of "routine" foreignpolicy,
whichis odd sincethisis thepolicycategorythatbureaucraticpoliticsshould mattermost (Rosati 1981). Other
foreignpolicyagencieshavebeen neglected.Expanding
the rangeof cases can help to broaden the explanatory
powerofbureaucratic
politicsin foreignpolicy.
The restof thisarticleis organizedas follows.The
nextsectionsurveystheobstaclesmissionary
institutions
facein pursuingtheiragendas.Sectiontwo developshypotheseson thelikelihoodoftheseinstitutions
surviving
and thriving.
The thirdsectionmotivatesthecase selectionof thePeace Corps and theHA Bureau.The fourth
ofthePeace Corpsfrom
sectionlooksat theperformance
to the end of
its originsin the Kennedyadministration
The followingsectionlooks at
the Ford administration.
'In 1994theHA bureauwas renamedtheBureauofDemocracy,
underthe Carterand ReaganadHumanRights,and Laborto reflect
theClintonadministration's theHA's performance
The finalsectionconcludes.
ofhumanrights.
ministrations.
expandeddefinition

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IDEAS,

BUREAUCRATIC

POLITICS,

AND THE CRAFTING

OF FOREIGN

POLICY

735

Ideas,Bureaucratic
Politics,
andForeignPolicy

cal organizations,the bureaucraticpoliticsparadigm,


and studiesof organizationalculturesuggestthattheinis notthatsimple.4
sertionof ideas intoinstitutions
of
note the diffiorganizations
Scholars
political
An ideational approach to foreignpolicy argues that
Agenciesthat
ideas intoinstitutions.
ideas can be sustainedthroughtheirinstitutionalization cultyof embedding
quo or fearlosingpowerwill resistthe
prefer
the
status
and the organizationalculturebred withinthe instituintroductionof anynew ideas into the policymix and
tion.Once established,
institutions
arean immissionary
use any means at theirdisposal to avoid unpalatable
portantcausal mechanismforthe conversionof ideas
ideas.These meanscould includeagendamanipulation,
into policies. Sikkinkobserves:"Rarelydo new ideas
excludingnew agenciesfrom
withholdinginformation,
thrivein themodernworldoutsideof institutional
netpressure to conform.
or
psychological
consultation,
works.Ideas withinan institution
become embodiedin
organizationsso thatthey
oftenstructure
Politicians
will
its statementof purpose,its self-definition,
and its recan retaintheirinfluenceeven afterlosingoffice(Moe
or
which
in
turn
tends
to persearch trainingprogram,
1990). Establishedbureaucraciesmaysabotagethe new
petuate and extend the ideas" (1991, 2). (See also
by lobbyingovertlypoliticalagents,such as
institutions
Goldsteinand Keohane 1993,13.)
interestgroups.A bureaucracywithmany
legislators
or
All institutionshave some foundingidea or ideas.
findit difficultto carryout its mission
masters
could
However,the"missionary"institutions
describedin the
without
outside
interference.
ideationalliteratureare distinctin twoways.First,misIn foreignaffairs,
politicsis particularly
bureaucratic
sionaryinstitutionshave a coherentset of preferences
salientfortworeasons.First,actorsimportantto domesthereis
overmeansand ends.In a missionary
institution,
tic
politicshave less powerand influencein foreignaflittledisagreementwithinthe agencyover the desired
environfairs.
Foreignpolicy is a thin interest-group
goal or thewaysin whichthatgoal is achieved.2Second,
While interestgroupsare an importantactorin
ment.
of
missionary
institutions
tryto preventtheintroduction
mostmodels of domesticpolicymaking,foreignpolicy
additionalnormativeor materialgoals in orderto avoid
interestgroupsare smaller,less organized,less wealthy,
value conflictsor tradeoffs(Bendor, Taylor,and Van
(Zegart1999,chapter1).
insti- and byextensionlessinfluential
Gaalen 1987).Thisallowsmembersofa missionary
havelittleelectoral
and congressmen
Similarly,
Congress
tutionto maintaintheirintensityof preferencesover
incentiveto takean interestin foreignaffairsand have
means and ends; it also preventsthe organizationfrom
less informationand fewtools withwhichto influence
overcompetinggoals.3
engagingin tradeoffs
most arenasof foreignaffairs.This raisestheprofileof
Implicitin the ideas literatureare the reasonsmisotheractors,includingotherbureaucracies.Second,in
arelikelyto surviveand thrive.Powsionaryinstitutions
to manyarenasof domesticpolicymaking,forcontrast
erfulideas can createa setof compellingbeliefsthatfuse
institutionsrarelyhave monopolycontrol
eign
policy
ofmanagers(agencyheads) and
thepreferences
together
overan issue.Agenciesmustcooperatewitheach otherin
operators(lower-levelbureaucrats).If these ideas are
orderto implementpolicy(Zegart1999). Classicworks
of thisgroupof
embracedby operators,thepreferences
on bureaucraticpolitics (Allison 1971; Destler 1972;
individualswill more closelymatchthoseof managers,
Allisonand Halperin1972;Halperin1974) havemodeled
reducingthe need formonitoring.Idea-infusedorganiforeignpolicyas theoutcomeofbargainingamongmulzationsdevelopa uniquesenseoforganizational
mission,
withdifferent
agendas.Anynew misdifficul- tipleorganizations
overcomingintraorganizational
principal-agent
busionaryinstitutionmustnegotiatewithpreexisting
ties(Wilson 1989).
reaucraticactors.
Whileintuitively
appealing,thiscausalmechanismis
Establishedagencieshave an advantageovernewly
buhighlyproblematicwhen applied to foreign-policy
createdinstitutions.
Olderagencieswillpossessmorerereaucracies.The new institutionalist
approachto politiskill,and expertisein thebureausources,information,
2 This distinguishes
institutions
Newlyestablishedmissionary
fromorganizations cratictrenches.
missionaryinstitutions
forexample,
whichis an insti- will certainlypossess a strongsense of organizational
Agency,
liketheCentralIntelligence
tutionthathas a clearlydefinedend (to acquireas muchsignifiaboutothercountriesas possible)butmultiple
cantinformation
thatend.
methodsofachieving
em3I am talking
hereaboutidealtypes.Allpoliticalinstitutions

and as willbe shown,all


zealto someextent,
bodythismissionary
institutions
mustcopewiththeprospectofnewideas.
missionary

but
theideationalapproach,
4Structuralrealismhas also critiqued

to thecasesdiscussedin
thesecritiquesaresomewhattangential
thisarticle.See Posen (1984) and Krasner(1993) fortherealist
take.

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736

DANIEL

mission,but maylack the otherresourcesnecessaryto


achievetheirpolicies.When created,theseinstitutions
mighthavethebackingof morepowerfulactorsthatcan
unitthroughitsinfancy.
shepherdthebureaucratic
However,as politicalfortunes
change,theseprotectors
can fall
frompower.
The existenceof strongorganizationalculturescan
further
impede the implementationof ideas in foreign
policy.Foreign-policy
agenciesare likelyto have strong
organizationalculturesbecause theyfallinto the categoryof"procedural"organizations(Wilson 1989,164),
in whichoutputscan be observedbut outcomescannot.
In thesetypesof bureaucracies,strongorganizational
culturesfocusless on ends and moreon means.In foreign affairs,the link between the outputs of foreign
policyagencies-demarches,treaties,sanctions,inducements,diplomaticentreaties,and so on-and the outcomesthoseoutputsaredesignedto influenceis vagueor
indirect.Frequently
theoutcomeis not evenobservable.
Strongorganizationalcultureshave been observedin
diplomaticcorps (Destler1972) as well as theU.S. military(Wilson 1989).
Proceduralorganizationsproduceculturesthatsociallyconstructan ethosfocusingon methodslinkedto
areconstrained
foundingideals.Iftheseorganizations
by
newtasksthatrequiredifferent
skills,an existingculture
can be dilutedwiththe influxof new personnelor new
tasks.Establishedorganizationalcultureswill resistor
subvertnew tasksthatare assignedthem,forfearthat
theywill lose their cohesion and abilityto function
(Derthick1990). This problemwillbe particularly
acute
withforeign-policy
bureaucracies.
The politicsof bureaucraticstructurecan bluntthe
abilityof an institutionto propagateits foundingidea.
However,the ideationalentrepreneurs
thatcreateand
staffnew missionaryinstitutionsare not oblivious to
thesepitfalls.
can theleadersof missionWhatstrategies
use to surviveand thrive?
aryinstitutions

W. DREZNER

was dissolvedon thefirstdayof theClintonadministraifthe agency'sestion.A missionaryinstitutionthrives


poused normsand principlescloselycorrelatewiththe
state'sobservedpolicyoutcomes.5For example,in the
late fortiesthe StateDepartment'sPolicyPlanningStaff
effectively
pushed U.S. foreignpolicytowardsa grand
are
of
containment.
Bothsurvivingand thriving
strategy
continuousvariables.An agencycan partiallysurviveifit
formbuthas some ofitsfoundretainsitsorganizational
ingideasalteredovertime.
Thereare multiplecauses of survivingand thriving,
the preferincludingthe balance of materialinterests,
encesofpoliticalleaders,and feedbackbyexternalactors
to policyoutcomes.However,theplacementof missionaryinstitutionsalso mattersbecause it constrainsthe
strategyset of the new agency.Missionaryinstitutions
can be createdas autonomousagenciesthatarehorizonSuch agencies
tallyequivalentto establishedinstitutions.
have independentaccess to resourcessuch as staffand
developtheirown hierarequipment.These institutions
chicalstructureas well as criteriaforpromotionwithin
is an exampleof
theranks.The U.S. TradeRepresentative
can
thiskindof placement.New missionaryinstitutions
also be establishedas a subunitof a largerorganization.
Theseagencieshavea clearmissionbutrelyon thelarger
bureaucracyforrulesand resources.As such,theseinstitutionshavelesschoiceoverpersonnel,promotioncriteAn exampleofthiskindof
structure.
ria,and hierarchical
whichis located
agencyis theBureauof RefugeeAffairs,
withinthelargerorganizational
unitoftheStateDepartment.I willcalltheformerinsulatedagenciesand thelatterembeddedagencies.6
At firstglance,it would appearthatinsulatedagencies would have a higherprobabilityof survivingand
thriving.Insulatedagencieshave the advantagesof autonomyand resourceallocation.An insulatedagencyhas
greatercontroloveritsown staffand budget,preventing
otheragenciesfrommanipulatingthoseresources.This
increasesthe abilityof a missionaryinstitutionto fend
to constrainitsactivities.
offefforts
The mostimportantadvantageto an insulatedmisis theagencyhead's abilityto use the
sionaryinstitution
WhenWillMissionary
Institutions
foundingideas to generatea strongand cohesiveorganiSurviveandThrive?
zationculture.Organizationalculture,as definedin the
rationalchoiceliterature
(Kreps1990;Miller1992),conFor thepurposesof thisarticle,a missionaryinstitution sists of the method throughwhich desired ends and
survivesif it maintainsits organizationalintegrity
and
continuesto advanceitsinitialset of ideas evenafterits
5Thisdoesnotmeanthatthepolicysucceeds,
justthatitis implepoliticalpatronslose power.Forexample,theU.S. Counbetweenpolicyoutputsand
mented.Thisgoesto thedistinction
cil on Competitiveness,
createdbytheBush administra- outcomes.
tion to advance the goal of governmentpromotionof
6 Thesedefinitions
correspondcloselyto Kaarbo's(1998) termiagencies.
high-techsectorsof theU.S. economy,did not survive;it
nologyofverticalagenciesandhorizontal

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IDEAS,

BUREAUCRATIC

POLITICS,

AND THE CRAFTING

OF FOREIGN

means are communicatedfrommanagersto operators


and outsiders.Establishinga clear set of decisionrules
empowersbureaucratsto act underuncertainty.
Under
such conditions,ideas can providea road map to solutions (Garrettand Weingast1993). Furthermore,
establishingan organizationalculturebased upon founding
ideas makesit easierto solveadverseselectionproblems
in hiring.New hiresarequickerto conformto thenorms
and practicesof the restof the bureaucracyif thereis
littlevariationamongthepreferences
of individualoperators (Brehm and Gates 1997; Carpenter 1998).
Foundingideashelpto narrowthatvariance.Cultureensuresthatthedesiredprinciplesand causalbeliefssustain
themselves
overtime.
Despitetheseapparentadvantages,
thereare reasons
to believethatinsulatedagenciesfacetougherodds of
The verystrategies
thatincreasethelikelihood
thriving.
of survivingreducethe chancesof thriving.Insulation
and theconcomitantdevelopmentof a strongorganizationalculturelimitthe influenceof new ideas upon the
otherbureaucraticactorsin foreignpolicy.Insulationis
forother
analogous to quarantine;it makesit difficult
ideas to "infect"a missionaryinstitution,but it also
makesit moredifficult
forthe missionaryinstitution
to
its
other
The
existenceof difspread ideas to
agencies.
ferentorganizationalcultureswill furtherimpede the
ideas. Justas separatepoliticalenexchangeof different
titieswill quicklyestablishwithin-groupand withoutgroup identities,so will bureaucratic units (Mercer
1995; Kaarbo and Gruenfeld1998). Sufficientdifferences in bureaucraticculturelead agenciesto distrust
the abilityof otherinstitutionsto make any contribution to foreignpolicy.It also encourages existingbureaucraciesto act likecompetitors,
providingalternative
policy outputs as a way of limitingthe missionary
institution's
influence.7
A missionary
institution's
culturealso
organizational
makeslogrolling
difficult.
Compromiseimpliestheacceptanceof otherbeliefsand values,whichcan proveanathema to bureaucrats
who genuinely
believethattheirideas
aresuperior.
ofany
Agencyheadsmustweighthebenefits
policycompromiseagainstthecoststo moraleifsuch a
compromiseviolatestheagency'snormsand beliefs.Operatorsmayshirkand/orsabotagecompromisestheydislike(Brehmand Gates1997).The distrust
betweenagencies with differentorganizationalculturesraises the
transaction
incostsofreachinga compromise,
impairing
sulatedagencies'abilityto logroll.The developmentof a
culturecan increasean insulated
unifying
organizational
ofoutside
andVanGaalen(1987) on theeffect
7SeeBendor,Taylor,
on bureaucratic
outcomes.
competition

POLICY

737

agency'schancesforsurvivalwhiledecreasingitschances
ofthriving.8
Embeddedagenciespossessa different
set of disadvantagesand advantagesin propagatingideas. Embedded agenciesarelocatedwithina largerand morepowerfulbureaucracy.
This typeof agencyshould,potentially,
have greateraccess to theinformationand resourcesof
thelargerentity.
A new agencycan manipulateagendas
and routinesto harnessthepowerofthewholeorganization by introducingnew practices and procedures.
Kaarbo (1998,81) notesthatifa minority
factioncan secure a decision rule of unanimityinstead of majority
rule,it can use itsvetopowerto blockinitiatives.
The most importanttool of an embedded agency,
however,
is itsabilityto proselytize
itsnormsand values,
initiating
othersin thelargerorganizationto itspointof
viewovertime.This is perhapsthemostdistinctadvantageof an idea-basedbureaucracyoveran interest-based
bureaucracy.
Interest-based
bureaucraciescan pushtheir
endsthroughbargainingand theaccumulationofpower.
Idea-based bureaucraciescan push theirends through
thepersuasionofothergroupsto theirprincipledbeliefs,
iftheycommunicatethepsychicor material
particularly
benefitsof usingtheirideas.Bothconstructivists
and ratheorists
that
if
staffers
are
tional-choice
argue
capableof
expressingtheirprincipledbeliefsin a waythatis conceptuallyamenableto otherindividuals'rolesand beliefs,
theirabilityto minglewithotherbureaucratsencourages
a broadershiftin preferences(Brehmand Gates 1997;
Johnston1999). In Rhodes' (1994) studyof the U.S.
Navy,he foundthatAlfredThayerMahan'sideas ofnaval
warfaretrumpedthenarrowerparochialinterests
among
thesubmariners,
airmen,and surfacesailorsin explaining weapons procurement.Ideas that resonate with
broadervaluesor goalscan spreadacrossthelargerorganizationalentity.
Of course,embeddedagenciesalso facesignificant
problemsin theirabilityto spreadtheirideas.Unlikean
insulatedagency,embeddedagenciesare unableto fashion a separateorganizationalculture.They mustdraw
one
theirpersonnelfromthelargerorganizational
entity,
thathas a previouslyestablishedbureaucraticculture.
This putsthenew missionaryinstitution
at a significant
disadvantage;agencyheads cannot createan organizational cultureconsistentwiththeirfoundingideas if a
strongculturealreadyexistswithinthe largerbureaucracy.The absenceof a distinctive
organizationalculture
increasesthelikelihoodofan embeddedagencythriving,
inconflict
willoftenserveto strengthen
thisexternal
8Ironically,
culture.
organizational
tra-groupcohesionthrougha reinforced
See't Hart(1994).

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738

DANIEL

but it simultaneously
reducesthechancesof the agency
skirmishes
surviving
withothersubunits.
Embeddedagenciesmustalso cope withless control
over resourcesthan insulatedagencies. Superiorscan
choose to denymaterial,informational,or human resourcesto thenewagency,cutit out fromorganizational
decisionmaking,or simplycoercebureaucratsintoconformingwiththe organizations'statusquo ante goals.
Embedded agenciesalso face an acute problemof adverseselection;theycannotbe sureif new staffwill act
in a mannerconsistentwiththe foundingideas. Over
time,thiscan lead to an absorptioninto the largerentity,extinguishing(or at the veryleast,mutating)the
foundingideas.
Insulated and embedded agencies face a tradeoff.
Embeddedagencieshavethebetterchanceof spreading
theirideas overtimeacross a significant
sectionof the
foreignpolicybureaucracy,but theyalso have a better
chanceof beingideologicallyabsorbedby thelargerorganizationalunit.Insulatedagencieshavea betterchance
of implementingtheirdesired policies,but over time
mustcope withcountervailingpolicies establishedby
otheragenciesand hostileexecutives.
Giventhesetradeoffs,
how should missionaryinstitutionsbe expectedto perform?
Insulatedagenciesthat
maximizethe advantagesof autonomyensuresurvival.
This means establishinga strongbureaucraticculture
thatcan sustainthefoundingidealsof theinstitution.
A
strongculturecan also thwarthostileexecutivesor legislatures. Although politicians can weaken agencies
throughbudgetcuts and personnelshifts,a strongbureaucraticculturecan encourage operatorsto pursue
goalsthatmightruncontraryto a hostilemonitor.Such
a strongculturewill also makeit moredifficult
forthat
agencyto convertotherpartsof the foreignpolicymachineryto itssetof principledbeliefs,or to logrollother
bureaucracies.
Thus,an insulatedagencyshouldsucceed
in implanting
strongnormswithinitsstaff,
sustainingits
organizationalmission.On theotherhand,it shouldbe
expectedto havelessinfluenceoverthebroadercontours
offoreignpolicy,and itspolicyoutputswillbe dilutedby
thepoliciesofotheragencies.
Embeddedagenciesfacea different
setof incentives
to propagatetheirideas.Theywillbe unableto developa
strongorganizational
culture,makingthemmorevulnerable to absorptionby the largerorganizationalentity.
Theseagenciesfacean immediatethreatto theirsurvival
fromhostilebureaucratsand superiors.Theiroverriding
goal mustbe to encouragepracticesand routinesthat
spreadideas to the restof thelargerorganization.This
couldbe donethroughtraining
or newstandard
regimens
operatingproceduresthatexposeothersto theideas the

W. DREZNER

missionaryinstitutionis supposed to encourage.Only


whentheseprincipledbeliefsare acceptedby thelarger
organizationalunit does the embedded agencyhave a
chanceof influencing
thelargercontoursof policy.The
problem,of course,is thatthe act of persuasiontakes
time,duringwhichan embeddedagencycould faceextheresultis likelyto be a hytinction.Evenifsuccessful,
ideas of thepreexisting
organizabridof theentrenched
institution.
tionand thenewideas ofthemissionary
betweenthesuccessTable1 summarizesthecontrast
fulstrategies
and outcomespursuedbythedifferent
types
The placementofthemissionofmissionary
institutions.
withinthelargerbureaucracyis theindearyinstitution
affects
theintervenpendentvariable,becauseit strongly
strategy.
It shouldbe stressed
ingvariable,organizational
thatthismodifiedideationalapproachis farfroma completetheoryof ideas and bureaucraticpolitics;it ignores
as wellas otherfactors.
Howtheroleofmaterialinterests
As Lijphart(1971) obhas advantages.
ever,itsparsimony
serves,parsimonioustheoriespermitscholarsto draw
fromfewerobservations.
The nextseccausal inferences
tionexplainsthecase selectionand testingmethodology.

Case SelectionandPrediction
in quantifying
theindependent
Because of thedifficulty
and dependentvariables,case studieswill be used. The
subsequent sections conduct a plausibility probe
(Eckstein1974) of thehypothesesdelineatedin theprevious sectionby examiningthe Peace Corps underthe
and
and Nixon/Fordadministrations,
Kennedy/Johnson
theStateDepartmentBureauof Human Rightsand HumanitarianAffairs(HA) underthe Carterand Reagan
These cases wereselectedon theindeadministrations.
pendentvariableto allowvariationin agencyplacement.9
Such an approach reducesthe chance of selectionbias
that is ever present in qualitative research (King,
Keohane,and Verba1994,chapter4).
The Peace Corps is nominallyunderthe controlof
the StateDepartment,but it has much greaterinstitutionalautonomythantheHA Bureau.The Corps'budget
is a separatelineitemfromtheStateDepartment;itsstaff
does not come fromthe Foreign Service. The Peace
statedthatitsoperatorswere
CorpsActof 1961explicitly
not obligatedto agreewithor defendU.S. foreignpolicy
(Schwartz1991, 19). It meetsthe definitionof an insuideationalapproachhasonlyoneindependent
9Sincethemodified
to predegreesoffreedom
sufficient
variable,twocasesgenerates
ventunderdetermination.

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IDEAS,

BUREAUCRATIC

TABLE I
Typeof
Agency

POLITICS,

AND THE CRAFTING

OF FOREIGN

739

POLICY

A Comparisonof Insulatedand EmbeddedAgencies


Resourcesat
Disposal

PredictedOrganizational
Strategy

PredictedOutcome

Insulated
agency

Controlover
personnel,budget,
promotion
criteria

Generation
ofa strong
organizational
cultureto
ensuresurvival

Survivallikely;not
likelytothrive

Embedded
agency

Greateraccess to
otherbureaucracies

Attempt
to change practices
and proceduresto persuade
otherbureaucrats

Survivalless likely;
ifsurvival,
then
thriving
likely

lated agency.The HumanitarianAffairs


Bureau,in contrast,was establishedwithinthe StateDepartmentbureaucracy.
Nonpoliticalstaffcame fromtheForeignService. The head of HA was an AssistantSecretaryin the
StateDepartmentbureaucracy.In contrastto the Peace
Corps,HA had to operatewithintheconfinesofa preexistingbureaucracyand organizationalculture.It meets
thedefinition
of an embeddedagency.
The cases havetheadded advantageof holdingconstantvariables importantin alternativeexplanations.
First,theeffectof materialinterests
on policyoutcomes
is controlledforin thatno domesticinterests
materially
benefitedfromeitherthePeace Corpsor theHA bureau.
Historiesof theseorganizationsdemonstratethatthese
agenciesembodyprincipledbeliefs-ideas thatdetermine whichpolicyends are rightand whichare wrong
(Goldsteinand Keohane 1993).10Althoughit is impossible (and undesirable)to separatecompletelytheeffect
of ideas fromthe effectof interests,
thesetwo agencies
comeveryclose.
Second,the internationaldistributionof powerremainedreasonablyconstantthroughout
thetimeperiod
studied. Systemictheorists(Waltz 1979) argue that
are theprinchangesin theexternalpolicyenvironment
cipal cause of anychangesin foreignpolicy.The bipolarity of the Cold War remained essentiallyunchanged
throughoutboth cases. Structuralrealismwould thereforebe unable to explain anyvariationin U.S. foreign
policy towardsglobal developmentor human rights.
and pluralistapproacheswouldpreThus,bothsystemic
dictthatthenew missionary
institutions
shouldhaveno
effect
on foreignpolicy.Anyobservedvariationin policy
of
outputswouldhaveto come fromtheconsciouseffort
theseinstitutions.
Fromthe argumentsmade in the previoussection,
we shouldexpectto see thePeace Corps successfully
deculturein orderto resistefvelopa strongorganizational
"0ForHA, see Bloomfield(1982), Drew (1977), and Sikkink
(1993); on thePeaceCorps,see Hoopes 1965,Rice(1985),Reeves
(1988),and Schwartz
(1991).

fortsto controlor alterits mission.At the same time,


however,theideas thatpromptedits creationshouldbe
limitedin theireffecton Americanforeignpolicy.With
theHA bureau,we shouldexpectanyattemptto forgea
separatebureaucraticculturefail,due to the inevitable
clash withthebureaucraticcultureof the ForeignService.Overtime,however,
one would expectto see HA eitherco-optedbytheStateDepartment,or,ifit survives,
converting
theForeignServiceto itsfoundingideas.
Althoughthecaseselectioncontrolsforsomealternativeexplanations,
otherapproacheswould producea set
of predictionscontrasting
withthe modifiedideational
A presidential
domiapproach,as Table2 demonstrates.
nanceapproach(Moe 1985;Bendorand Hammond1992,
313-317) arguesthatthe chiefexecutive,throughapand selectiveincentives,
pointment
can overcomeanybureaucraticresistanceto his preferred
outcomes.This approach would predict the missionaryinstitutionsto
surviveand thrivein supportiveadministrations,
but
In bothof
witherand die in unfriendly
administrations.
the cases, an administrationwithideologies hostileto
theseinstitutions'
foundingideas came to powerwithin
tenyearsof theircreation.Furthermore,
boththeNixon
and Reaganadministrations
placeda greatdeal ofemphaandwerethus
sison politicalcontroloverthebureaucracy
with
quiteconsciousoftheneedto controlorganizations
views antitheticalto theirideas (Reeves 1988; Nathan
outcomesbased solelyon materialre1983).11 Predicting
sourceallocationswould predicta betterchanceforthe
Peace Corpsto surviveand thrivethantheHA bureau,as
itsinitialstaffsize (250 to 20 initialstaffers)
and budget
weremuchlarger.
styleofman1"Anapproachbasedon theindividual
presidential
agement(Rosati1981;Hermannand Preston1994)wouldpredict
neitheragencyto surviveor thrivein all periods.The missionary
voicesin
institutions
wouldfacethedifficulties
ofbeingminority
administrations
(Johnsonand Carter)thatvaluedbureaucratic
consensus.Withpresidentsthatpreferred
morecentralizeddecision-making
(Nixonand Reagan),theywouldlose outbecause
they were promotingideas that differedfrompresidential
preferences.

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740

DANIEL

TABLE 2

W. DREZNER

Predicted
Outcomes

Approach

Predicted
performance Predicted
performance Predicted
performance Predicted
performance
ofPeaceCorpsunder
ofPeaceCorps
ofHA
ofHA
Kennedy/
Johnson
underNixon
underCarter
underReagan

Modified
ideational

Highprobability
of
Highprobability
of
Lowprobability
of
surviving;
lowprobabilitysurviving;
lowprobabilitysurviving
andthriving
ofthriving
ofthriving

Lowprobability
of
surviving;
ifsurvival,
of
highprobability
thriving

Presidential
dominance

Highprobability
of
surviving
andthriving

Lowprobability
of
orthriving
surviving

Highprobability
of
surviving
andthriving

Lowprobability
of
orthriving
surviving

Material
resources

Highprobability
of
surviving
andthriving

Highprobability
of
surviving
andthriving

Lowprobability
of
surviving
orthriving

Lowprobability
of
surviving
orthriving

Becauseoftheacuteinterest
in boththePeace Corps
and humanrightsin general,I relyon secondarysources
in buildingthecase studies.Thisinevitably
leadsto questionsof codingreliability
of qualitativevariables.Space
constraintspreventan exhaustivedetailingof minute
disagreements
amongthesourcesabouttheoutcomesin
eachcase.However,a reviewoftheliterature
has revealed
a surprisingdegreeof consensuson most of the points
coveredin thecase studies.In each case,plausiblealternativeexplanationsare discussed,and significantdisagreements
amongsecondarysourcesarealso noted.

ThePeace Corps:1961-1976
Thereweretwofoundingideas of thePeace Corps.First,
thewayto alleviatepovertyand promotedevelopment
was throughthedirectactionof thePeace CorpsVolunteers(PCVs). This was the qualitythroughwhich the
PeaceCorpsdistinguished
itselffrommoretechnicalU.S.
aid organizationssuch as theAgencyforInternational
Developmentor PointFour.Unlikethoseagencies,which
dispatchedaid,thePeace Corpswas designedto puta humanfaceto thataid (Anderson1998;Shriver1964,71-72;
Ashabranner
1971,44-45).One quasi-official
guideto the
Peace Corps observedin 1965:"thePeace Corps saysto
theworldas no privateagencyor technicalassistanceorganizationcould sayit,thattheAmericanpeople themselveswantto help the people of the emergingnations
fightthe poverty,disease,and ignorancewhichare the
greatest
obstaclesto progress....Thisconceptofthedoer,
as opposedto theadvisoror teacher,
is thedistinguishing
featureofthePeace Corps"(Hoopes 1965,82, 100).
U.S.
Second,thePeaceCorpswas designedto reorient
foreignpolicyin thethirdworldtowardsproblemsofde-

velopmentand in theprocesscreatealliesamongthemass
of newlydecolonized states.Memos betweenKennedy
R. SargentShriver,
in
and thefirstPeace Corps director,
1961 stressedthe foreign-policy
advantagesthatwould
accrueto theUnitedStatesfromthegoodwillgenerated
withrespectto theCold
bythePeace Corps,particularly
Warcompetition
withtheSovietUnion (Cobbs 1996,90first
tripabroadto
94; CobbsHoffman1998,29).Shriver's
targeted
sellthePeace Corpsto hostcountriesspecifically
third-world
countries,includingNigeria,India,
strategic
Pakistan,and the Philippines(Amin 1992,40).12 However,thePeace Corps'creatorswerealso awareof thefact
thattheonlywayto obtainthatadvantagewas to denude
sincethiswould
U.S. policyofblatantanti-communism,
conflictwiththe revolutionaryideology of these new
countries.In short,thefoundersofthePeace Corpshad a
causal beliefthatby focusingon development,theU.S.
would build up goodwillamong thedecolonizedstates.
theUnitedStateswould help
Throughsuch idealpolitik,
stemcommunism(Shriver1964,72).
DespitepressurefromAID to placethenewmissionwithinitsorganizational
Kennedy
purview,
aryinstitution
establishedthePeace Corpsas an insulatedagency.'3The
wereconscious thattheiraufirstPeace Corps staffers
tonomousstatuspermitteda strongorganizationalculturethatwould perpetuatethe foundingideals.Shriver
observed,"The organizationalchartswould havelooked
betterif we had become a box in a single foreignaid
agency.Butthethrustofa newidea wouldhavebeenlost.
wrotein a memoran'2After
a June1961tripto Guinea,Shriver
to movea countryfroman
dum:"Herewe havean opportunity
oreven
clearBlocorientation
to a positionofneutrality
apparently
I
suchopportunity
to theWest.Thisis thefirst
one oforientation
world"(quotedinAmin1992,44).
knowofin thedeveloping
(1971,44-47) formoreon thisdecision.
"3SeeAshabranner

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IDEAS,

BUREAUCRATIC

POLITICS,

AND THE CRAFTING

OF FOREIGN

The newwineneededa newbottle"(1964,15).VicePresidentJohnsonwarnedShriver,


"thistownis fullof folks
who believethe onlywayto do somethingis theirway.
That'sespeciallytruein diplomacyand thingslikethat,
becausetheyworkwithforeigngovernments....
You put
thePeace Corps intotheForeignServiceand they'llput
stripedpantson yourpeople"(quotedin Rice 1985,67).
The staffand volunteers
quicklyacquiredtheculture
of a missionaryinstitution.
The numberof applications
to be Peace Corps Volunteers(PCVs) in 1961 outnumberedapplicationsto all otherdepartments
ofthefederal
government.
The firstfewcohortsofPCVs consistedprimarilyof BA generalistswho signed up because of
Kennedy'scall forservice.Once placed in thefield,they
establisheda strongsubculturethatreflected
thefounding ideals of the agency:independencefromotherforeignpolicyagencies,a sensitivity
to othercultures,and a
desireto be "doers."'14
The organizationalculturewas so
strongthatlongitudinalstudiesof PCVs indicatethat
theircareerpathsweredramatically
affected
bytheirservicein thePeace Corps (Starr1994).
The exceptionalespritde corpsof the Peace Corps
administrators
has also been documentedin organizationalhistories(Ashabranner1971;Rice 1985; Schwartz
1991; Cobbs Hoffman1998). The amount of overtime
hourstheywerewillingto devoteto the cause reflected
theircommitmentto the mission of the Peace Corps.
The forty-hour
workweekdid not existforthestaffany
more than it did forthe volunteersin the field(Clute
1962, 165). Ashabrannerobserved:"Almosteveryone
who servesforanylengthof timein thePeace Corps ...
to thePeace Corps,or
developsan emotionalattachment
at leastto thePeace Corpsidea,thatI cannotconceiveof
anyonedevelopingforthe CommerceDepartment,the
BureauofStandards,or theAgencyforInternational
Development"(1971,3).15
The Peace Corps'emphasison fostering
a strongorsuccesses
ganizationalcultureled to some foreign-policy
in thesixties.Shriverand hisstaffdecidedat theoutsetto
place as manyvolunteersas possible in the field.The
growthof the programwas impressive.In 1961 there
were750 PCVs; by 1966 therewere15,556in morethan
fifty
countries,includingnationstraditionallyaligned
with the Soviet Union such as Tanzania and India.
Shriver'ssuccessat creatinga large,insulatedagencyalso
14See in particularSchwartz(1991), chapterone; Rice (1985),
chapterten.
15 Thisdoes notmeanthatthere
werenotconflicts
withintheorganization.
Ricenotes"Onceoverseas,
theVolunteers
formed
their
ownexclusive
'subculture'
andmostpreferred
tohaveas littletodo
withPeaceCorps/Washington
as possible"(1985,221-222).

POLICY

741

led to thespreadof thefoundingideas of development,


directaction,and person-to-person
diplomacy.More favorableattitudestowardstheU.S. by third-world
elites
werereportedthroughoutAfricaand Asia (Amin 1992,
163-178;Cobbs Hoffman1998,157-182;Rice 1985,280;
Searles1997,12).
The Peace Corpswas also successfulin encouraging
policyemulationamong othercountriesin theWest.In
October 1962, the Peace Corps held an "International
Conferenceon Middle-LevelManpower"in PuertoRico
to encourage other countriesin the west to establish
Peace-Corps-typeprograms.At the conference,twelve
countriesannouncedplansto establishsimilarprograms,
and thenumberincreasedin theyearsthereafter.
By1965,
sixteenwesterncountriesincludingFrance,Germany,
and
GreatBritainhad startedsimilarvolunteerprograms.
These initialsuccessesoccurredwithoutmuchsupport fromthe restof the foreign-policy
bureaucracy.
Therewererepeatedclasheswiththe StateDepartment.
Relationsbetweenthe Peace Corps and AID were describedas "dismal."RelationswiththeDepartmentofthe
Interior"nearlyregressed
intoa brawl"(Carey1970,180185). The Civil Service Commission was reluctantto
As a wayofexworkwiththenewmissionary
institution.
ertingpower,otherforeignpolicybureaucratsrefrained
fromtransmitting
information
to thePeace Corps Staff.
Rice quotes one officialcomplaining,"Can anyoneexplainto mewhywe neverappearto see StateorAID mescounsagesinvolving
majordecisionson issuesinvolving
triesin whichwe haveprograms?"
(1985, 130).
in organiPartofthistensionwas due to differences
zationalculturethatdevelopedbetweenthePeace Corps
and otherorganizations.More establisheddepartments
and an impedithoughtthePCVs werenaive,untrained,
mentto theconductof foreignpolicy.Wofford
quotes a
careerdiplomatin the Statedepartmentdisparagingly
thePeace Corpsmottoas: "Yoo-hoo,yoo-hoo.
describing
Let'sgo out and wreaksome good on thenatives"(1980,
274). The Peace Corps was partlyresponsibleforthese
becauseoftheirstrategy
ofdevelopinga distinct
conflicts
Shriverorculture.In one memorandum,
organizational
deredthatPCVs refrainfromspendingtimeat U.S. embassycompoundsor consortwiththeembassystaff.He
noted,"Separatenessfromotheroverseasoperationsof
the U.S. is importantto achievingthe desiredimage"
(Rice 1985,130;see also Carey1970,chapternine).
The differences
in organizationalculturewereexacerbatedbytheperceivedloss of powerfeltby otherforeignpolicyagencies.Rice quotes Bill Moyersobserving:
"The old-lineemployeesof Stateand AID covetedthe
Itwas a naturalinstinct;
established
Peace Corpsgreedily.
bureaucraciesdo notlikecompetitionfromnew people"

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742

DANIEL

(1985, 61). Searlesquotes a USAID bureaucratgrousing


to a Peace Corps volunteer,"Peace Corps is afraidthat
someone else mightgeta littlecreditfortryingto help
people,too" (1997,98). In one interagency
meeting,State
departmentofficialsexpressedbitterness
withthePeace
Corpsformusclingin on educationalaid policies.Other
officialsat State felt that Shriver needed "a gentle
out" so thatthe Peace Corps could better
straightening
serveState.Theyopposed the 1962 international
conferenceheldbythePeace Corps,fearingthatShriverwould
unwittinglydeliver the Soviets a propaganda coup
(Cobbs 1996). There was particularresentmentthat
Shriverrefusedto send PCVs to unstablebut strategic
countriessuch as Vietnamor Algeria (Schwartz1991,
74). Despite thisantagonism,the Peace Corps partially
thrivedduringthe Kennedy/Johnson
years.Its statusas
PresidentKennedy'spetprojectprotectedit fromthreats
to itssurvival,lendingsome supportto thepresidentialdominancethesis.
Afterits promisingstart,otheroutputsof U.S. foreign policybegan to overwhelmthe Peace Corps' sucof focusingon developmentin
cesses.Shriver'sstrategy
orderto woo third-world
countrieswas overshadowed
by
the policy externalitiesof Vietnam.The stridentanticommunismofthewareffort
led severalcountriesto expel thePeace Corps;some nationsclaimeditwas simply
a coverforU.S. intelligence
(Schwartz1991). Differences
in organizationalculturemade anyattemptto influence
otheragenciesfutile.Ricenotes,"thepowerbrokerssurroundingKennedyregardedthePeace Corps'leadersas'
boy scouts,'and thegeopoliticiansof theNationalSecurityCouncilviewedthemand thePeace Corpsas peripheral at best" (1985, 302). Simplyput,the Peace Corps'
abilityto promotetheideas of developmentand cultural
exchangewas drownedout bytheforeign-policy
implicationsofVietnam.
It could be arguedthatthePeace Corps was simply
too small and narrowan institutionto affectVietnam.
However,theevidencesuggeststhatthePeace Corpswas
also unableto alterU.S. policyon developmentalaid,an
issue area firmlywithinits bailiwick. In the firstten
yearsofthePeace Corps'existence,
developmentaid was
uncorrelatedwith the degree of povertyin recipient
countries,a prime considerationforthe Peace Corps
(Lumsdaine1993,91-92). This occurredat a timewhen
demandoutstrippedsupplyin extremely
poor countries
forPeace Corps education programs(Rice 1981, 13).
thegeneraltrendwas one ofprofessionaliFurthermore,
zationof aid provision,eschewingthephilosophyof directaction embodied by the Peace Corps (Lumsdaine
1993,232). Consistentwiththe theorydevelopedhere,
thePeace Corpswas able to carveout a separateautono-

W. DREZNER

mous niche,but as a resultit had littleto no influence


agencies.
overotherforeign-policy
The Peace Corps faceda hostilePresidentin Richforeignpolicy.
ard Nixon.Nixon embraceda realpolitik
The ideals and the independence of the Peace Corps
clashed with Nixon's preferenceson foreignpolicy.
Cobbs Hoffmannotes,"Richard Nixon ... saw little
place in his plans fora warm and fuzzyPeace Corps
theworld.If it could not
spreadinggoodwillthroughout
fulfilla specificforeignpolicyfunctionthatgainedthe
United Statesan advantagein the world,it should be
'chopped"' (1998, 222-223). This was also emblematic
of HenryKissinger,Nixon's national securityadvisor
and foreignpolicyarchitect.
Nixon concluded
Afterconsultationswithhis staff,
thatabolishingtheagencyoutrightwould be too politicallycostly.He decidedinsteadon a stealthcampaignto
destroyit.In March 1970,a WhiteHouse staffmemo to
JohnErlichmanand HenryKissingerarguedfor"a quiet
phasingout ofthePeace Corps,"throughappropriations
cuts (Schwartz1991, 161). In Julyof thatyear,Nixon's
chiefof staff,H. R. Halderman,recordedin his diary
thatthepresidentwantedto cutthePeace Corpsbudget,
"farenoughto decimatethem"(Halderman1994,191).
He was reasonablysuccessfulin this goal, as Table 3
demonstrates.
Nixon'sfirstPeace Corpsdirector,
JosephBlatchford,
launcheda set of policies,called New Directions,which
placedgreateremphasison meetingthespecificdevelopmentneedsof thehostcountries(Blatchford1970). The

TABLE3

and Staffof
Appropriations
thePeace Corps

Year

Appropriations
(in1963dollars)

1963
1964
1965
1966
1967
1968
1969
1970
1971
1972
1973
1974
1975
1976
2000

59,000,000
94,552,000
100,596,000
107,116,000
100,159,000
93,810,000
85,012,000
77,907,000
67,711,000
52,325,000
55,346,000
48,278,000
44,519,000
43,999,000
51,850,000

ofPeaceCorps
Number
Volunteers
andTrainees
6,646
10,078
13,248
15,556
14,698
13,823
12,131
9,513
7,066
6,894
7,341
8,044
7,015
5,752
7,000

Source:CobbsHoffman
(1998,262);http://www.peacecorps.gov/about/

.
facts/index.
html

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IDEAS,

BUREAUCRATIC

POLITICS,

AND THE CRAFTING

OF FOREIGN

main thrustof New Directions was the recruitingof


older,moreskilledpersonnelas opposed to theBA generaliststhatdominatedthe Peace Corps duringthesixties.Therewereintrinsically
sound reasonsforthisshift,
but Blatchford
justifiedit in a memo to HenryKissinger
by sayingthatthesenew personnelwould "emphasize
technicalassistancemorethansimplygood will"(quoted
in Cobbs Hoffman1998,222-223). This emphasiscontradictedthefoundingidealsofthePeace Corps,clashing
withthe causal beliefsof directaction and movingthe
Peace Corps missioncloserto AID. Severalstaffers
concluded thatBlatchford's
actionsweredesignedto transformthePeace Corps froma missionaryinstitution
to a
juniorUSAID (Schwartz1991;Reeves1988).
Blatchford
took otherstepsto altertheagency'sorganizationalculture.He cut theamountof trainingand
indoctrination
PCVs receivedbeforegoingintothefield,
reducingthesocializationcomponentofthePeace Corps
(Cobbs Hoffman1998,223). He also alteredthe mix of
rolesPCVs playedin the field.In the Kennedy/Johnson
years,25 percentof all PCVs weredevotedto "communitydevelopment"
as a wayofplacingvolunteersdirectly
intocommunities.Blatchfordphased thisout; by 1972,
only4.2 percentof PCVs engagedin communitydevelopment.Instead,largenumbersof PCVs wereplaceddirectlyin hostcountrybureaucracies,anothermove that
triedto push the Peace Corps towardstheAID format.
However,his mostseriousorganizationalmovewas the
strictenforcement
ofthe"five-year
rule."Thisbarredany
Peace Corps staffer
fromservingin theagencyformore
than fiveyears.16In 1971, Blatchfordused this rule to
flushout 10 percentof theWashington
and 49 perstaff,
centof the overseascountrydirectors(Schwartz1991;
Cobbs Hoffman1998).
Thesestepswereinsufficient
forNixon,and he soon
took more drasticaction. In 1971,Nixon consolidated
the Peace Corps and othervolunteeragencies into a
singlebureaucraticunitcalledACTION. As partof the
bureaucraticshake-up,thePeace Corps was renamed;it
was now the InternationalOperationsDivision of ACTION. To head theagency,Nixontoldhischiefofstaffhe
wanteda "toughguy"who would could clamp down on
the agency.FindingBlatchfordunsatisfactory,
in 1972
NixonappointedMichaelBalzano to be thehead ofACTION.17 Balzano was publicly quoted as vowing to
changethedirectionof thePeace Corps and otheragencies withinACTION, even if it meant"bringingtanks
rightup to theagency'sfrontdoor" (Searles1997,168).
16Ironically,Shriver
proposedthis1965amendment
to thePeace
CorpsActas a wayofpreventing
bureaucratic
sclerosis.

'7Balzano'spreviouspositionwasas an aideto CharlesColson.

POLICY

743 -

Balzano took stepsto alterthe organizationalculbureau


ture.He removedthe Peace Corps' recruitment
and placed it in ACTION. He was determinedto eradicate the Peace Corps' cultureof directaction; he deas "totally
scribedtheexistingPeace Corpsprogramming
inadequate"(Balzano 1978,3). To changeit,he setup six
programminginstitutesdesigned to convince Peace
thatcommunityactionwas outdatedand
Corps staffers
Attendanceat
different
methodshad to be promulgated.
theseinstitutes
was mandatoryforstaffers.
thebudgetcuts,thebuDespiteNixon'spreferences,
reaucraticshake-up,and the Balzano appointment,the
foundingideasofthePeaceCorpsdid notdisappear.Surbeforeand afterBalzano'sprogramveystakenof staffers
showedno realchangein theideasheldby
minginstitutes
who triedto implement
PeaceCorpsstaffers.
Bureaucrats
thenew programsfoundthemselves
ostracized(Balzano
1977, 12-22; Reeves1988,83-85). Balzano'sinabilityto
was largelydue
alterthefoundingidealsoftheinstitution
to therobustorganizationalcultureof thePeace Corps.
All of thePeace Corps directorsunderBalzano weresocializedintothe agency'scultureand refusedto alterit.
For example,JohnDellenback,who became the Peace
Corps directorin 1975,commented:"I helpedwritethe
legislationthatcreatedACTION ... whenI becamePeace
Corps DirectorI changedmymind and concludedthat
we ... had made a legislative
mistake.... I becameabsolutelyconvincedof the uniquenessof the Peace Corps'
mission" (Searles 1997, 166). Balzano, ratherbitterly,
came to the same conclusion:"There are manypeople
employedby thePeace Corps at presentwho havebeen
withthePeace Corps sinceitsinception.Such revolvingall new
fosters
intellectual
dooremployment
in-breeding:
ideasarejuxtaposedagainstthestandardofthepast.This
inflexis perhapsat therootofPeaceCorpsprogramming
ibility"(1978, 16).
The ideals implantedin 1961 remainedfirmlyin
As Table3 shows,
placein 1976;thePeaceCorpssurvived.
and manpowerhave risenfromthe
budgetaryauthority
Clintonexpresseda goalor
mid-seventies
nadir.President
raisingthe numberof PCVs to 10,000,a levelnot seen
sincethesixties.However,thePeace Corpsdid notthrive;
as an insulatedagency,it could not influenceotheragencies crafting
foreignpolicyor eventhesubsetof foreign
policydealingwithdevelopmentissues.

TheHABureau,1976-1988
In October1977,theBureauof Human Rightsand HumanitarianAffairs
was established.Createdby congres-

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744

DANIEL

sionalmandate,thenewbureauwas embracedby PresidentCarter,who had pledgedin his inauguraladdress:


"Our commitmentto human rightsmustbe absolute."
Carter'spolitical appointeesto the bureau came from
civil rightsbackgrounds;the nonpolitical appointees
wereForeignServiceOfficers(FSOs). The firstassistant
secretary
of stateforhumanrightsand humanitarian
affairs,PatriciaDerian,was thefounderof theMississippi
Civil LibertiesUnion. Derian triedto fostera bureaucraticculturethatvalued human rightsabove standard
diplomatic practices (Warshawsky 1980, 198-205;
Morrison1987,82; Drezner1999,88-89).
HA's relationshipswith the other bureaus of the
StateDepartmentwerehighlyconflictual.
The strainwas
causedbytwofactors.First,FSOs bitterly
resistedtheintroductionof a new and inherently
confrontational
mission. Confronting
stateson theirhumanrightspractices
cut againstthe grainof an organizationalculturethat
stressedthesmoothingoverof conflict.Second,Carter's
political appointees, coming from civil rightsbackgrounds,were used to organizationalculturesof confrontation
in
and publicprotest.Derianwas unsuccessful
implantingthisculturein HA, as it was alien to a State
Departmentbureaucracythatvalued comity(Morrison
1987,54).
FSOs in the regionalbureaus reactedto the introductionof HA byprotecting
theirturf.The regionalbureaus possessedsignificant
assets,in the formof information,controloverpromotion,and accessto overseas
staff.
Theyused theircontroloverresourcesto blockany
HA initiative.Cable trafficand classifiedinformation
were withheldfromHumanitarianAffairs(Maynard
1989,187).Wheninformation
was transmitted,
itwas often distorted. The East Asian bureau downplayed
Indonesia'sabuses in East Timor despitereputablereThe Near East bureauexaggerated
portsto thecontrary.
theShah'sprogramofliberalization
in Iran(Cohen 1982,
261-262). The inabilityof FSO's servingin Humanitarian Affairs
to receivepromotionsdroveawaycapablebureaucratsworriedabout theircareers.The denial of resourcesand elitebureaucratsled to a viciouscircle.One
describedtheproblem:"It's
regionalbureaudeskofficer
in thepolicyloop,so theydon'tgetthe
[HA] notdirectly
best people, and the factthat theydon't get the best
people means thatthe worktheydo isn'ttop notcheither,whichmeans thattheyare less in the policyloop
whichmeansthattheygetless good people" (quoted in
Morrison1987,76).
HumanitarianAffairshad fewweapons to combat
thiskindof bureaucraticconflict.In 1979,twoyearsafterits creation,HA was stilltinyby StateDepartment
withonlytwentypeople on itsstaff.
Its Office
standards,

W. DREZNER

of Human Rightshad onlythirteenFSOs, and each bureaucrathad both regionaland functionalduties.There


was onlyone officialin chargeof all HA policytowards
bilateraland multilateraleconomicassistance,in addition to the Latin American region.HA faced chronic
manpowershortagesand highturnoverrates(Maynard
1989,182,193).
The bestwayto measurewhetherHA's ideas thrived
would be whethergovernmentaid was withheldfrom
countriesthoughtto be human rightsviolators,as this
was mandated by HA's enactinglegislation (Drezner
1999,88). An interagency
groupon Human Rightsand
ForeignAssistance(called the ChristopherCommittee
becauseitwas headedbyDeputySecretary
of StateWarren Christopher)consisted of participantsfromHumanitarianAffairs,
the regionalbureaus,AID, the Export-ImportBank,Treasury,
Defense,and the National
SecurityCouncil.Thiswas a venuewhereHA was able to
influenceforeignpolicy.
By all accounts,HA had minimalinfluencein the
ChristopherCommittee. The Carter administration
neverdeclaredanyonea grossviolatorof humanrights,
whichwould have mandatedsanctions.Otherbureaucraticactors,includingtheAgriculture
Departmentand
theExport-Import
Bank,succeededin gettingtheirproThe biggestconflict
gramsexemptedfromanyaid cutoff.
withintheChristopher
Committeewas betweenHA and
theotherStatedepartment
bureaus,in particulartheregionaldesks.Drew quotesone StateDepartmentofficial
on the decision-makingprocess:"What happened was
thatif anyone,includingone of the regionalAssistant
... put up a strongargumentagainstzapping
Secretaries
he won"(1977,43).18 The Underanyofthesecountries,
secretaryof StateforSecurityAssistancethreatenedto
resignunless militaryaid and othersecuritysupport
wereexemptedfromhumanrightssanctions.The threat
succeeded.Multipleeconometricstudiesshowno correlation betweenAmericanaid and the human rightsregimes in recipientcountriesduringthis time period
(Hofrenning 1990; Poe 1991; Stohl, Carleton, and
Johnson1984;Apodaca and Stohl1999).Expectationsof
survivalpast 1980wereminimal.
The Reaganadministration
came intopowertruma
different
set
of
ideas
peting
regardingtherelationship
betweenhuman rightsand foreignpolicy (Kirkpatrick
1979). Reagan'sapproachto humanrightswas predominantlyshaped by the Cold War strugglebetweenthe
United Statesand the Soviet Union; he expectedU.S.
policy on human rightsto be subordinatedto that
struggle.
18See also Cohen(1982) and Mower(1987,72-82,103-106).

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IDEAS,

BUREAUCRATIC

POLITICS,

AND THE CRAFTING

OF FOREIGN

Reagan took a numberof stepsto weakenthe HA


bureauand modifyitsfoundingideas to suithis foreign
policypreferences.
Reagan'sfirstnomineeto head HA,
ErnestLefever,had previouslyargued thatthe human
rightsreportsbe eliminatedand thatall legislationtying
aid to human rightsbe revoked.The Senate rejected
Lefever'snomination,but the signalof disdain forHA
was evident. Until Elliot Abrams was nominated in
Lefever's
place,HA was lookedat as the"laughingstock"
ofState,accordingto one FSO (Maynard1989,182-183).
ofStateAlexanderHaig pointedlyexcludedthe
Secretary
actingHA directorfromstaffmeetings.
The Reaganadministration
successfully
alteredthe
ofhumanrightsestablishedunderCarter.The
definition
previousadministration
had establishedthreebroadcategoriesofhumanrights:freedomfromtortureand other
personalviolations,civiland politicalliberties,and economic rightsto food, shelter,and health care. Under
harmonizedthedefinition
Reagan,theStatedepartment
to be consistentwithoverallforeignpolicyby eliminatingtheeconomicrightscategory.Communistcountries
had used theeconomiccomponentofthedefinition
as a
criticism.
This changepermittedusing
wayof deflecting
thehumanrightsagendaagainstcommunistcountries.19
Finally,therewereseveralhighprofilecases,such as
El Salvador,wherethe Reagan administrationignored
blatanthuman rightsviolations and increasedaid; by
1982,El Salvadorwas receiving27 percentof all U.S. bilateral aid to Latin America (Donnelly 1998, 99;
and Pasquarello1985,544). MostcommentaCingranelli
torsthenand now declaredthathumanrightsconcerns
were moribundunder the Reagan administration,in
largepartbecause "HA has been co-optedintothe bureaucraticmilieu of the StateDepartment"(Morrison
1987,219).
HA mightnothavesurvivedin itsoriginalform,but
thereis significant
evidencethatit thrivedin theReagan
years.First,therewas a noticeableshiftin humanrights
rhetoricafterReagan'sfirstyearin office.In 1981,U.N.
ambassadorJeaneKirkpatrick,
wrote,"not onlyshould
humanrightsplaya centralrolein U.S. foreignpolicy,no
U.S. foreignpolicycan possiblesucceedthatdoes notaccord thema major role" (1981, 42). Haig also reversed
course,declaringhumanrightswouldbe a "majorfocus"
ofReagan'sforeignpolicy(Maynard1989,183).20
19Forexample,theCarteradministration
used humanrightsto
voteagainstmultilateral
development
assistance
toleftist
countries
34 percentof thetimeand rightistcountries31 percentof the
time.The Reaganadministration
figureswere31 percentand 4
percent,
respectively
(Maynard1989,214).
20Seealso Mower(1987,33-37).

POLICY

745

Second, under the Reagan administrationseveral


studieshave founda statisticalcorrelationbetweenthe
amount of U.S. aid and the human rightsconditions
withinthepotentialrecipientcountries(Cingranelliand
Pasquarello 1985; Poe and Sirirangsi1993). Indeed,the
ofthe
majorityofthesestudiesfindthatthesignificance
statisticalrelationshipincreasedfromCarterto Reagan
(Hofrenning1990; Poe 1991, 1992; Apodaca and Stohl
1999). Buttressing
thestatisticalfindingsare clearcases,
such as Haiti or Chile,wherethe Statedepartmentinsistedon includinghumanrightson theagendain dealing witha particularcountry(Shultz 1993, 621, 971).
Furthermore,
thesame humanrightsexpertsthatargue
HA was tamedunderReaganalso acknowledged
thatthe
of
the
quality
annual humanrightsreportssignificantly
improvedwitheach passingyearof the administration.
Indeed,statistical
testscomparingtheStateDepartment's
human rightsreportswiththose of AmnestyInternationaland FreedomHouse founda highdegreeof correlation (Cingranelli and Pasquarello 1985; Innes de
Neufville1986).
One possibleexplanationforthisturnaroundwould
be a sea change in Americanpublic opinion towards
placing human rightsat the top of the foreign-policy
agenda. Commentatorsat the time suggestedthatthe
Reaganadministration
changedcoursebecause of rising
public supportforhuman rights(Jacoby1986). However,pollingdata showsno increasein thesalienceofhuman rightsfrom1976 onwardsand littlechangein public supportforemphasizinghuman rightsin bilateral
relations(Geyerand Shapiro 1988,392-393).21 Analyzing the data, Geyerand Shapiro conclude: "There has
been littleindicationof changein publicopiniontoward
human rightsas a foreignpolicygoal duringthe Carter
and Reaganyears"(1988,387).
Thereare threereasonsforReagan'sreversal.First,
the Assistant Secretaries for Human Rights under
were
Reagan,ElliottAbramsand thenRichardSchifter,
betterat playingthe game of bureaucraticpoliticsthan
HA's agenda.Abrams
Derian and in so doing furthered
ensuredthatForeignServiceofficers
assignedto HA were
not slightedforpromotionsin thefuture.
As a result,the
caliberof FSOs willingto workin HA improved,a fact
acknowledged
bytheotherbureaus(Morrison1987,89).
Second, the proceduresof the Reagan administrafromtheChristion'sinteragency
workinggroupdiffered
bureaus
topherCommittee.UnderCarter,the different
21Theexception
attitudes
waspublicopinionabout
to unchanging

apartheid
in SouthAfrica(Geyerand Shapiro1988,387). ThisexReaganresisted
anychangeinhis
ceptionprovestherule,however;
untilCongressoverrodehis
engagement
policyof constructive
Act.
vetoofthe1986Anti-Apartheid

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746

DANIEL

arguedthecase out in thegroup;underReagan,theState


Departmenthashedout a commonpositionpriorto the
workinggroup meeting.Statedepartmentbureaucrats
dislikedairingintradepartmental
disputesin frontof
otherdepartments,in part because such an approach
clashedwithState'sorganizationalcultureof comity.By
HA did not
workingout a commonpositionbeforehand,
alwaysgetitsway,but whenit did,it had thebackingof
the entireStatedepartment(Maynard1989,212-215).
Underthe CartersystemHA was a persistentbut small
advocate.Underthe Reagan system,HA's voice was less
frequently
heardbutwas considerably
louder.
Third,as the clash of culturesdiminished,FSO's
provedmorereceptiveto theidea of humanrights.The
primarymechanismthroughwhichthisidea was transmittedwas thehumanrightsreports.The annualexercise
to gaugehumanrightsconditionsforcedembassystaffs
to assignhumanrightsofficers
to writethereports.To do
this,theFSOs establishedcontactsand networksamong
human rightsactivistsin theircountry.The act of data
collectionand reportwritingsocializedFSOs outsideHA
intotheimportanceof humanrightsideals.Bytheearly
eighties,a surveyof FSO's in foreignpostingsrevealed
surprisingly
strongsupportforthereporting
exercise.As
thereportscirculatedwiththe Statedepartment,
awarenessof humanrightsincreasedin official
Washingtonas
well (Innes de Neufville1986,689-693). Participantsin
theprocesshave confirmedthiseffect.
RichardSchifter,
Reagan'ssecondAssistantSecretaryforHuman Rights,
notedafterleavingoffice:
on develDiplomatsareusedto reporting
promptly
opmentsin theareasoftheirresponsibility,
and humanrightsofficers
to thisgenwerenotexceptions
eral rule.Thus, once embassieshad been staffed
with human rightsofficers,
a flowof messages
ofhumanrightsconstartednotifying
Washington
ditionsinproblemcountries.
Thesemessages
began,
in thefirst
to
the
inform
State
instance,
Department
ofhumanrights
problems.... Thus,onceWashington becameawareof thedetailsof humanrights
webegantothinkofwaysofdealingwith
violations,
thoseissues.(1992,47-48)
The Reaganadministration
madesignificant
changes
to the HumanitarianAffairsbureau. These changesalteredthefoundingideas of theHA bureau,changingthe
ofhumanrights.
In thisalteredform,howverydefinition
ever,theideas promotedby HA spreadto therestof the
Statedepartment
bureaucracy.
Bytheend ofReagan'ssecond term,human rightswereacceptedas an important
nationalinterest.
componentoftheAmlerican

W. DREZNER

Conclusions
has failedto examThe international
relationsliterature
ine thecausal mechanismsthroughwhichideas are convertedintopolicies.It has been unclearhow missionary
institutions
surviveand thrivein a worldofbureaucratic
politics.Thisarti'cle
arguesthattheplacementofthemissionaryinstitution
vis-a-vistherestof theforeignpolicy
determines
theabilityof theseinstitutions
organizations
to surviveand thrive.Insulatedagenciescan createorganizationalculturesweddedto theirfoundingideas.This
makesinsulatedagenciesrobustto challengesfromother
organizationsand increasestheodds of survival.Such a
strongculturedecreases its abilityto influenceother
agencies,restricting
itsabilityto manipulatethebroader
foreign-policyagenda. Embedded agencies are constrainedfromcrafting
a separateorganizationalculture,
makingthemmorevulnerableto manipulationby the
If theydo survive,however,theyare
largerbureaucracy.
morelikelyto thrive.Alteringroutinesand practicesbecomesa wayofspreadingtheirideasto thelargerorganization.ComparingtheabilityofthePeace Corpsand the
bureauto susStateDepartment'sHumanitarianAffairs
taintheirideationalagendastestedthishypothesis.
to thisstudy.The cases
Thereare severallimitations
wereselectedusinga "most-similar
systems"
(Przeworski
and Teune 1970) in orderto show the existenceof the
causal mechanisms.These cases controlledfortheeffect
of materialinterestsand the structuraldistributionof
willhavesincereor
power.Most missionaryinstitutions
therelationship
strategic
supportfrommaterialinterests;
Laterwork
betweenthetwoneedsto be exploredfurther.
needsto use a most-different
systemsapproachin order
to estimatetherelativeexplanatorypowerof themodifiedideational approach. Other empiricalavenues include potentiallydisconfirming
cases, such as the U.S.
Arms Control and Disarmament Agency,and nonAmericancases.
the resultssuggesta need forthebuTheoretically,
reaucraticpoliticsparadigmto movebeyonddescription
towardspositivetheoriesof action.Organizationaltheoriescan borrowfromtheideas approachin formulating
the originsof bureaucraticpreferences,
as well as the
setavailableto organizations.
bureauSimilarly,
strategy
craticpolitics is a crucial interveningvariable forthe
ideas approach and should be integratedinto thatresearchprogram.The resultsalso suggestthefruitfulness
of combiningrationalistand constructivistmodes of
analysis.The cases demonstratethe effectof organizacalculationsmade by
tionalnormsas wellas thestrategic
actorsto spreadthosenorms.

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IDEAS,

BUREAUCRATIC

POLITICS,

AND THE CRAFTING

OF FOREIGN

Finally,thisarticlesuggeststhatideationalentreprein institutionalizing
neursfacea tradeoff
ideas.An insulatedagencyhas theadvantageof makingan immediate
effect,
butovertimethateffect
is muchlesslikelyto grow.
An embeddedagencyis much less likelyto havean immediateimpactand overtimemightnothaveanyimpact
at all. However,it mightalso acquiremuch moreinfluencethana horizontally
autonomousagency.How entrepreneursmake thisdecision is a subject forfutureresearch.
Manuscript
submitted
June16,1999.
Final manuscript
received
April17,2000.

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