Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Political Science


Preventive deployment as a conflict prevention tool has not recurred in the past decade-plus, despite the broadly acclaimed success of the United Nations Preventive Deployment in Macedonia (UNPREDEP 1995-1999; and its predecessor mission, UNPROFOR/Macedonia, UNPROFOR/M 1992-1995). The United Nations in particular has continued with mainly first- and second-generation peacekeeping, peacemaking and peacebuilding actions. What may best explain why has there has been no other engagement in preventive deployment missions, when there has been much emphasis placed formally and informally on early warning, detection, mitigation, and prevention of conflict? There have also been an increasing numbers of violent conflicts worldwide, so again, why no more preventive deployments?

Realism, organizational learning and constructivism in particular offer potential theoretical insights. Several research innovations were established: first, the main organizations involved (the UN Headquarters, UN HQ) and the field organization (UNPREDEP) were conceived of as two separate entities; second, the examination of the case was expanded temporally, and third, theoretical approaches infrequently utilized in international relations, particularly organization and organizational learning theory, were applied.

Learning in the field organization pre-, during and post-deployment, and learning situated at key UN Departments and sections were to have been critical but largely unexamined factors in this outcome relevant to the absence, post-UNPROFOR/M and UNPREDEP of preventive deployment as part of preventive diplomacy. Interviews with primary field and headquarters actors were crucial to addressing this question. Primary materials from the UN Archives were also made partially available for the first time, and were an important source for this case study.

It is found that learning and knowledge interactions between organizations (especially between the field and UN HQ) resulted in flawed processes and outcomes at headquarters, and thereby blurred opportunities for understanding, learning and change, instead allowing decisions, principles, practices, policies and norms that at the very least marginalized preventive deployment as an ongoing, viable tool of pre-conflict management.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.