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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The International Joint Commission : determinants of success Makepeace, Garth O.


This thesis examines the organizational structure and decision-making process of the International Joint Commission. It does so by focussing on the Commission's investigation and report on the Garrison Diversion Unit during 1975-1977. The basic question which is asked is: Why does the International Joint Commission (IJC) enjoy a high reputation for successful resolution of disputes involving the transboundary and boundary waters of Canada and the United States? Two related hypothesis are proposed: (1) that the IJC is linked by means of its somewhat unique organizational structure to key bureaucratic agencies and departments in Canada and the United States and (2) that within the IJC's decision-making process strong norms of consensus and common-goal decision-making promote solution of disputes, most of which are based on very technical issues. Interview evidence and published material are used to establish initial support for these hypotheses. The paper closes with a discussion of problems which may endanger a continuation of IJC "success" and with a tentative proposal of improvements to IJC operations which may help negate this possibility.

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