Save Lives or Save the Regimes? An Interview with Dr. François Audet.

Publication Date: 
Tuesday, June 17, 2014

ATHA’s Anaide Nahikian recently sat down with Dr. François Audet, Scientific Director of the Canadian Research Institute on Humanitarian Crisis and Aid (OCCAH) and a professor of management and technology at the Université du Québec à Montréal. Their discussion centered on Dr. Audet’s recent research, which looks at the interest and attitudes of western humanitarian organizations in developing local capacities, and explores the influences behind agencies’ decision-making process.
You can listen to the interview by clicking on the audio player below. If you want to be the first to hear similar discussions in the future, we encourage you to subscribe to our podcast in iTunes.

If the audio player above does not load, you can listen to the podcast here.

Some more information on Dr. Audet’s research: Using the bureaucratic model of Allison and Zelikow, the objective of this research is to understand the attitudes of humanitarian organizations vis-à-vis local capacity building, arguing that these approaches are determined by bureaucratic process, political compromise, and institutional survival interest.
Through this lens, this research shows that capacity building is not systematic and will be implemented only if organizations are obliged by their donors or their status. Their bureaucratic behavior is shape by a resistance to change, their institutional survival interests, and the domestic context in which they are making their decisions. This paradox generates questions on their claimed independence from institutional donors and public authorities. In fact, it seems that they cannot harmonize their mission with the management model that they have to use to in order to survive. Humanitarian bureaucracies are constantly navigating the dilemma between “what they should do” and “what they wish to do” to realize their mission, while also ensuring their survival. For more information on this topic, please see Dr. Audet’s paper, and follow him on Twitter @FrancoisAudet.

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