Flexibility in border security: A case study of the Dutch border security team

Erik de Waard, J.P. Kalkman, Myriame Bollen

Research output: Chapter in Book / Report / Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


Flexibility in organizations is important, especially when dealing with crises that develop in an unpredictable way. Existing management theory makes clear that organizations are confronted with different environmental dynamics and, therefore, need a mix of operational, structural and strategic flexible capabilities to remain viable. The present article uses this insight to analyze the flexibility potential of the Dutch Border Security Team Concept (BST). The BST concept has been developed by the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee as a practical answer to deal with the sudden migration crisis in the Eastern Mediterranean. The findings show that the composite BST unit has the potential to be really flexible. In sum, it has proven to be a comprehensive, semi-autonomous organizational element that possesses all the necessary capabilities to cover migration-related crisis situations well. Yet, the empirical results also bring to the front that the embeddedness of the BST within the overarching Frontex constellation affects the possibility to fully reap the benefits of organizational independence. Frontex’ standardized and highly formalized routines leave too little room for a customized decentralized organizational effort.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNL ARMS Netherlands Annual Review of Military Studies 2018
Subtitle of host publicationCoastal Border Control: From Data and Tasks to Deployment and Law Enforcement
EditorsH. Monsuur, J.M. Jansen, F.J. Marchal
PublisherT.M.C. Asser Press
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9789462652460
ISBN (Print)9789462652453
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Publication series

NameNL ARMS Netherlands Annual Review of Military Studies
PublisherT.C.M. Asser Press


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