CINETS edition:II location:Leiden date:9-10 October 2014
The Euroregion Meuse-Rhine consists out of (regions of) three countries: Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands, each characterised by different languages and (legal) cultures in a geographically small area. Previous research has shown that cross-border crime is a persistent phenomenon in the Euroregion (Spapens & Fijnaut 2005; Spapens 2008; Fijnaut, Spapens & van Daele 2005, Fijnaut & de Ruyver 2008). This makes it necessary for the Euroregional police organisations to cooperate (Nelen, Peters & Vanderhallen 2013). Because of these characteristics, he Euroregion can be seen as an ‘experimental garden’ for international police cooperation (Spapens 2010). The successes and failures of cross-border criminal investigations are well documented (Spapens & Fijnaut 2005; Spapens 2008; Fijnaut, Spapens & van Daele 2005, Fijnaut & de Ruyver 2008, …). However most
research has taken a top-down approach (i.e. focussed on the formal cooperative structures). Research by Nelen, Peters & Vanderhallen contributed to the existing body of work by taking a bottom-up exploratory perspective on Euroregional police cooperation (i.e. a focus on the experiences on the work-floor) This research shows that problems in Euroregional police cooperation predominantly, (but not exclusively) occur due to (national) organisational differences (Nelen, Peters & Vanderhallen 2013). To create an understanding of the influence of organisational differences on international cooperation in the Euroregion it is necessary to profoundly analyse the problems and chances occurring due to these differences.
This paper aims to reflect on the findings regarding organisational differences from the theoretical framework of (inter) organisational conflict (Scott 1995). The main question is:
(1) how do the findings of police cooperation regarding organisational differences in the Euroregion compare with the theory of (inter) organisational conflict?
Method of approach
The paper will first discuss the theory of (inter)organisational conflict (Scott 1995). In short, this theory provides a conceptual framework for inter-agency collaboration. The framework consists out of five levels of analysis: (1) inter-organisational, (2) intra-organisational, (3) inter-professional, (4) interpersonal and (5) intra-personal. These levels of analysis influence cooperation between organisations and at the same time offer different approaches to conflict resolution. Second, empirical findings in the Euroregion regarding police cooperation will be contrasted against the theory of (inter)organisational conflict.
Results and conclusion
First, the empirical findings regarding organisational cooperation in the Euroregion will be contrasted against the five levels of analysis of the theory of (inter)organisational conflict, resulting in problems and/or chances occurring in the cooperation between the Euroregional police organisations. Secondly, since the theory offers solutions for conflict resolutions, an analysis of the usefulness of those resolutions for international police cooperation will be made. Lastly, the above described analysis will indicate whether the theory on (inter)organisational conflict is beneficent to approach international cooperation between (police) organisations in formulating recommendations for the practice of police cooperation as well as for the development of theory on (inter)organisational conflict on an international scale.