Encyclopedia of World Problems - Archived Information

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The international community invests much time and energy in formulating and implementing strategies. However, the tendency is perceive such strategies in isolation. Although the merits of alternative strategies may occur in a policy-making environment, it is unusual for two or more strategies to be discussed in the operational environment in which strategy is executed. This is partly because the current "strategy" is supposed to integrate all relevant approaches to the problems.

This approach has negative consequences. First, information on strategies employed by international bodies tends to be even more dispersed than that on the problems the strategies are designed to respond to. Whilst the organizations described in the Yearbook of International Organizations may be able to identify precisely the set of problems to which they are responding, it is usually much clear less what strategy they are employing in the process. This is because organizations quite often have strategies which are not distinguishable within the organization from programme orientations, working style and the general objectives for which the body was originally established. Second, the current approach limits strategy formulation. The conventional way of addressing any problem situation is to elaborate a strategy, but given the number, variety and interrelationships of the problems (detailed in the World Problems and Global Issues section of the Encyclopedia) it is uncertain whether any conventional strategy could be adequate.

Given this complexity, there is a great advantage in clarifying the range of strategies currently being pursued in response to global problems. This volume is therefore an encyclopedia of strategies drawn from organizations covering the broadest range of interests. The merits and clashes of various strategic approaches can then be rendered much more explicit to planners, and allows them to better appreciate the strategies that would be used by their "collaborators" and "opponents". It is an attempt to counter-act the tendency, at least in the academic community, to identify specific strategies, comment on them, and then possibly advocate alternative strategies to the ones perceived as inadequate, because this does not lead to any overview of the range of strategies or of the manner in which they interact, often undermining each others achievements. The UIA's research on strategies and solutions also encompasses work on the use of metaphor in relation to organizational governance and strategy making. An overview of this work is available at Governance through metaphor, and work specifically relating to the Encyclopedia at Experiments with metaphor.