Confronted with a new wave of criticism on the in effectiveness of its development programs, the World Bank embarked on a revitalization process, turning to private investors to finance International Development Association projects and widening its mandate. To explain these adaptation strategies of the World Bank to regain relevance, this piece draws on organizational ecology and orchestration scholarship. We contend that international organizations rely on two adaptation mechanisms, orchestration and scope expansion, when they lose their role as focal actors in an issue area. We find that the World Bank has indeed lost market share and has relied on these two mechanisms to revitalize itself. We show that the World Bank responded to changes in the environment by orchestrating a private sector-oriented capital increase, prioritizing private funding for development through a “cascade approach,” and expanding the scope of its mandate into adjacent domains of transnational governance, including climate change and global health.

Presenting: Orchestrating private investors for development: How the World Bank revitalizes

Heldt, E. and Dörfler, T. (2022): Orchestrating Private Investors for Development: How the World Bank Revitalizes, Regulation & Governance 16(4): 1382-1398.
Full Paper