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A New Perspective on Improving International Organizations

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ReformWorks is an independent and impartial research organization that provides business intelligence for effective management and administrative decision-making in international organizations. Our research focuses on management challenges and best practices specific to international organizations and analyzes how different approaches impact organizational performance. 


Too often, the diplomats taking management decisions in governing boards or the managers proposing management improvements are forced to rely on best practices, case studies and analyses from the private sector. This was the experience of our Managing Director, Katja Hemmerich, when she led the development of a staff mobility strategy and new performance management policy for the 40,000 international staff of the UN Secretariat. All the advice focused on how Human Resources should provide financial or career path incentives to promote the desired staff behaviors and performance. Yet, in international organizations, human resources offices need to work with governing bodies to change financial incentive systems as well as recruitment and career development policies. Human resources and other operational personnel in international organizations cannot work in isolation, nor can they afford to ignore the political realities of working with member states.  


A growing body of research increasingly demonstrates that the way in which managers and member states work together on management challenges significantly impacts an international organization’s performance. Yet, very little of this research is penetrating international organizations and their decision-making processes. While working as 'practitioner-in-residence' at the University of St. Gallen's Institute for Responsible Innovation, Ms. Hemmerich saw the need for more systematic knowledge exchange and translation between researchers and operational policymakers in international organizations.  


ReformWorks’ analyses highlight the policy and performance implications of the latest academic research on all management topics relevant to international organizations - human resources, procurement, finance, risk management and strategic planning. We also undertake our own research projects in collaboration with academic and other partners, with a focus on management concerns and priorities of international organizations and their governing bodies. ReformWorks does not advocate for specific management solutions, rather we provide evidence to demonstrate the performance impact of different types of interventions. 

Providing business intelligence for those in the

business of managing multilateralism.


Our aim is to provide managers and member state decision-makers with the data and analysis needed to find common ground on solutions that will enhance the performance of international organizations, and not inadvertently undermine it.  ReformWorks' weekly updates of UN governance bodies activities allow member state delegates and managers across the UN system to understand how other UN organizations are dealing with their management challenges and which solutions have demonstrated results. You can see an example of our tools by downloading a PDF of our Accountability Mechanisms of the United Nations.

With more than 20 years of experience in management roles in the UN system, our Managing Director, Katja Hemmerich, has extensive experience in developing and negotiating performance improvement strategies with senior leadership and member states (in the Fifth Committee as well as troop and police-contributing countries). She understands the type of results-based information needed for them to take effective decisions. Having worked on multiple UN interagency strategic planning, risk management, learning and recruitment initiatives, she also appreciates that each UN entity, like all international organizations, have their own unique management policymaking process that shapes decision-making and organizational performance.  In 2020, Ms. Hemmerich was a finalist for the UN Secretary-General's Award for Changing the Way We Work, after being nominated by her team as a "Manager with Profound Impact'.

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