The Effect of Personal Integrity on International Cooperation: A Mixed Methods Approach to Human Behaviour in International Relations

At a time when international political cooperation (for example, to combat climate change) rarely appears to be successful, this doctoral thesis examines the influence of the human factor on international relations.

Many of the challenges currently facing the international community are global and their solution is in the interest of all or many countries. Thus, international and global cooperation is needed to solve them. However, this is precisely what often fails.

In contrast, various scientific disciplines have found that people generally cooperate very well with each other. The classical scientific theory on international politics and international relations, however, does not or only to a very limited extent include the human factor in its considerations. In international cooperation, however, humans play a central role as an actor on behalf of states. For this reason, and with the aim of contributing to the inclusion of the human factor in the scientific considerations of international political theory, this paper examines the human factor and its influence on international cooperation.

To reduce the complexity of the human factor, this work focuses on one aspect of the human factor, namely personal integrity.  By means of quantitative analyses (multivariate regression analysis, principal component analysis, identification of interaction effects) and qualitative analyses (expert interviews, case studies), it concludes that personal integrity in particular and the human factor in general influence international cooperation.

The paper further argues, and suggests reasons, that representatives of states in their work in international cooperation take on three different roles: 1. ambassadors as representatives of their home countries; 2. ambassadors as partners and colleagues in a group of different country representatives; 3. ambassadors as human beings with different backgrounds and personality traits.  

Thus, this work opens the debate on the human factor in international relations and argues that the inclusion of the findings of other academic disciplines can usefully complement and broaden the debate on international political cooperation in order to help solve the current problems of international cooperation.


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