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Organizing Special Operations Forces: Navigating the Paradoxical Requirements of Institutional-Bureaucratic and operational Environments

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Increased focus on the potential of special operations has lead several countries to establish dedicated special operations organizations. Analysts have warned against bureaucratization, yet little research has explored the effect of organizational formalization or asked how best to organize. This article draws from research into high-reliability organizations and interviews in Denmark’s Special Operations Command. It contrasts the demands of the command’s institutional-bureaucratic and operational environments and argues that the ability to straddle them is key to success. The high-reliability organization’s ability to match divergent problems with dissimilar internal organizational behaviors is held out as a model for inspiration.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSpecial Operations Journal
Volume3
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)61-73
Number of pages12
ISSN2329-6151
DOIs
StatePublished - 31 May 2017
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