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Title: Motivation, markets and client relations in the British private security industry
Author: Drutschmann, Sebastian
ISNI:       0000 0004 5366 3879
Awarding Body: King's College London (University of London)
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2014
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One persistent concern about the increasingly widespread use of private security companies (PSCs) is that, unlike the state-organized military, PSCs are inherently unreliable and disloyal because they are primarily motivated by profit and only subject to limited controls. Yet if these concerns were valid, one should expect misconduct to be PSCs' default behavioural option. Evidence from UK PSCs operating in Iraq and Afghanistan from 2003-2009, however, suggests that misconduct was relatively rare, given how widely PSCs were used in both theatres of operation. Indeed, PSCs are frequently lauded for their professionalism and loyalty - particularly by their customers, who arguably have a close view of their behaviour. The core problem of this thesis is, therefore, the question why misconduct is actually not more prevalent in the UK private security industry (PSI). It argues that the dominant conceptualization of PSC behaviour overemphasises the importance of financial interests in their decision-making. Using Granovetter's concept of embeddedness, this thesis suggests that the social context of PSCs, through institutions, networks and power relationships, shapes their economic actions. In a three-level analysis, it shows how (1) the decisionmaking processes in individual PSCs, (2) competition in the market for PSC services and (3) the (contractual) relationship between PSCs and their clients reduce the likelihood of misconduct. Rather than being exclusively interested in maximising their corporate profits, PSCs are therefore motivated by a complex amalgam of financial and non-financial interests. This motivation, combined with informal regulatory influence from their labour, market and client relations, causes PSC behaviour to be more restricted than previously acknowledged. Adopting a qualitative approach and drawing on over fifty semi-structured interviews with UK PSC representatives and employees, their clients, policy-makers and experts as well as on corporate reports, biographies, academic and media research, this thesis traces the key factors that shaped the behaviour of UK PSCs in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2003-2009. By providing a more nuanced understanding of UK PSC behaviour, this study offers a new approach to PSC regulation. Instead of strict, formal regulation, including intrusive monitoring and strong sanctions, this study demonstrates the advantages of less antagonistic, responsive forms of regulation, which rely on fostering military professionalism in the PSI, on shaping public and private sector demand power in the market for PSC services and on using the relationship dimension of contracting to increase regulatory responsiveness.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available