Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Arts and Sciences


Political Science

First Advisor

Dr. Daniel Morey


Military organizations develop a unique set of practices and procedures in response to their particular political, economic, and social circumstances. The characteristics of these organizations shape standardized behaviors, methods of training personnel, and the degree of stratification within their bureaucratic hierarchies. This study examines how organizational characteristics influence battlefield effectiveness, patterns of alliance formation, and the security of United Nations peacekeepers.

Chapter 2 evaluates how differences in personnel sophistication and bureaucratic stratification influence battlefield efficacy. A military may devote substantial resources to develop war plans and procure advanced technology, but these assets are of limited consequence in the absence of personnel and a bureaucratic configuration capable of translating political aims into military actions. Using battle-level data from the First World War, I find that military organizations with stratified bureaucratic hierarchies and relatively sophisticated personnel are significantly more effective on the battlefield.

Chapter 3 examines how characteristics of military organizations influence the likelihood of alliance formation. Previous literature argues that a cooperative relationship is essential for an alliance to form, but allied states must also coordinate military activities in order to operate as a cohesive unit. Recognizing the extensive interplay between cooperation and coordination, I contend that alliances form when states share common interests and have military organizations capable of coordinating actions. Through an analysis of alliance formation from 1816-2007, I find that states with similar military organizations are significantly more likely to create security alliances.

Chapter 4 investigates how organizational traits of United Nations peacekeeping coalitions influence the frequency and magnitude of deliberate attacks on peacekeepers. Peacekeeping missions occur in unstable conflict environments, so effective collaboration among peacekeepers is critical to achieve mandated objectives and protect UN personnel drawn from harm. Operating as a cohesive unit presents a considerable challenge for peacekeeping forces because they are ad hoc coalitions of contingents from a variety of organizational cultures and professional backgrounds. Using annual data of UN peacekeeping operations from 1990-2013, I find that peacekeeping coalitions sharing similar organizational structures suffer fatalities at a significantly lower rate and magnitude.