Thomas  Dörfler Author of Evaluating Organization Development

Thomas Dörfler

Research Fellow
University of Potsdam

Thomas Dörfler is a research fellow at the Chair of International Organizations and Policies at the University of Potsdam, Germany. He holds a PhD in Political Science from the University of Bamberg, Germany, and a Master’s Degree from Leiden University, The Netherlands.

Subjects: Political Science


Thomas Dörfler holds a PhD in Political Science from the University of Bamberg, Germany, and a Master’s Degree from Leiden University, The Netherlands. He has been a Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS)-UNU Postdoctoral Research Fellow with the UNU Centre for Policy Research, a visiting scholar at John-Jay College of Criminal Justice (City University of New York) and a consultant for the Security Council Affairs Division of the UN Secretariat. Most recently, he held a post-doctoral position at the Technical University Munich, Germany, TUM School of Governance and is now a research fellow at the Chair of International Organizations and Policies at the University of Potsdam, Germany. Thomas has published in academic journals including Regulation & Governance, Review of International Studies, Global Governance, Journal of International Relations and Development, Terrorism & Political Violence, Journal of Economic Policy Reform, as well as several chapters in edited volumes and policy-relevant articles. For his work on UN sanctions, he has received the 2018 Hans-Löwel-Prize and the 2017 Award of the UN Association of Germany.

Areas of Research / Professional Expertise

    International Relations Theory, International Organizations, Institutional Change, Security Council, Sanctions



Featured Title
 Featured Title - Security Council Sanctions Governance (Dörfler) - 1st Edition book cover


European Journal of International Relations

Analogy-based collective decision-making and incremental change in international organizations

Published: Jan 18, 2021 by European Journal of International Relations
Authors: Thomas Dörfler and Thomas Gehring

We examine how analogy-based collective decision-making of member states contributes to the endogenous emergence of informal rules and the incremental change of international organizations (IOs). Drawing on psychological conceptions, we develop two micro-level mechanisms that elucidate the effects of analogy-based collective decision-making in member-driven IOs.

Journal of Economic Policy Reform

Why is Change so Slow? Assessing Prospects for United Nations Security Council Reform

Published: Mar 22, 2019 by Journal of Economic Policy Reform
Authors: Madeleine Hosli, Thomas Dörfler

The article explores how changed patterns of UN membership affected the prospects for UN Security Council institutional reform.

Review of International Studies

Constitutive Mechanisms of UN Security Council Practices. Precedent Pressure, Ratchet Effect and Decisions on Council Action in Intrastate Conflicts

Published: Jan 15, 2019 by Review of International Studies
Authors: Thomas Gehring, Thomas Dörfler

Based upon the current debate on international practices with its focus on taken-for-granted everyday practices, we examine how Security Council practices may affect member state action and collective decisions on intrastate conflicts. We outline a concept that integrates the structuring effect of practices and their emergence from interaction among reflective actors. It promises to overcome the unresolved tension between understanding practices as a social regularity and as a fluid entity.

SAGE Research Methods Cases

Uncovering Covert Structures: Social Network Analysis and Terrorist Organizations

Published: Jan 06, 2019 by SAGE Research Methods Cases
Authors: Thomas Dörfler, Eric Stollenwerk, Julian Schibberges

Social network analysis is a powerful method to analyze complex social networks. However, finding and gathering data that are suitable for social network analysis is often complex and time-consuming. This is particularly the case for clandestine networks such as terrorist organizations. In our research project, we used social network analysis to gather and analyze publicly available data from the United Nations Security Council on the Al-Qaeda terrorist network.

Regulation & Governance

Credible Commitment without Independent Regulatory Agents: Evidence from the United Nation Security Council’s Compensation Commission

Published: Jul 01, 2018 by Regulation & Governance
Authors: Manuel Becker, Thomas Dörfler, Thomas Gehring

Against the backdrop of the United Nations Compensation Commission established by the Security Council to settle claims on damage from the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait, we present an institutional arrangement that promises to credibly commit member states to their previously defined interests without excluding them from the decision process.

Journal of International Relations and Development

Precedent and Doctrine in Organizational Decision-making: The Power of Informal Institutional Rules in the United Nations Security Council’s Activities on Terrorism

Published: Jun 15, 2017 by Journal of International Relations and Development
Authors: Thomas Gehring, Thomas Dörfler, Christian Dorsch

We examine how and under what conditions informal institutional constraints, such as precedent and doctrine, are likely to affect collective choice within international organisations even in the absence of powerful bureaucratic agents.

International Journal of Public Administration

Constitutional Dynamics in the European Union: Success, Failure, and Stability of Institutional Treaty Revisions

Published: May 01, 2017 by International Journal of Public Administration
Authors: Thomas Dörfler, Katharina Holzinger, Jan Biesenbender

Despite high institutional hurdles for constitutional change, one observes surprisingly many EU treaty revisions. This article takes up the questions of what determines whether a treaty provision is successfully changed and why provisions are renegotiated at subsequent Intergovernmental Conferences.

Terrorism & Political Violence

Taking a New Perspective. Mapping the Al Qaeda Network through the Eyes of the UN Security Council

Published: Aug 01, 2016 by Terrorism & Political Violence
Authors: Eric Stollenwerk, Thomas Dörfler, Julian Schibberges

This article applies a social network analysis and subsequent mappings of the data gleaned from the Security Council's consolidated sanctions list, and asks what they can demonstrate about the structure and organizational characteristics of Al Qaeda.

Politische Vierteljahresschrift

Wie internationale Organisationen durch die Strukturierung von Entscheidungsprozessen Autonomie gewinnen. Der Weltsicherheitsrat und seine Sanktionsausschüsse als System funktionaler Ausdifferenzierung

Published: Mar 01, 2015 by Politische Vierteljahresschrift
Authors: Thomas Dörfler, Thomas Gehring

The article analyzes how international organizations gain autonomy from their constituent members through functional differentiation, even if decision-making authority is trans-ferred to a committee exclusively consisting of the delegating states.

Global Governance

Division of Labor and Rule-based Decision-making within the UN Security Council: The Al-Qaida/Taliban Sanctions Regime

Published: Nov 01, 2013 by Global Governance
Authors: Thomas Gehring, Thomas Dörfler

Decisionmaking within the Security Council increasingly involves delegation to subsidiary bodies. Drawing on modern institutional theory, this article examines the effects of the emergent system of divided labor within the al-Qaeda/Taliban sanctions regime.