Leadership of International Organizations

Nina co-led a research team investigating effective leadership practices across eleven international organizations, working closely with Prof. Ngaire Woods (Blavatnik School of Government). They examined how executive leaders of international institutions are selected, evaluated and held to account for the decisions. The research team interviewed senior management in international institutions and collected extensive primary documents to illustrate 10 best practices in leadership. The findings were documented in a report published by the World Economic Forum and presented in Berlin, Oxford and Geneva.

Hall and Woods have also co-authored an article in the European Journal of International Relations outlining how scholars can study the impact of leadership in international organizations by focusing on three constraints: legal-political, resource and bureaucratic. Leaders can navigate and push back on these three constraints. Scholars for too long have neglected the study of leadership in international organizations – for theoretical and methodological reasons – and they urge scholars to take-up this question.

Hall and Woods have also published their work on the importance of transparent, meritocratic selection processes for Executive Heads as an Op-Ed and a chapter in the UN Association of the UK report.

Presentation on leadership in International Organizations
Hertie School of Governance, May 2016:


Schmid, Lisa, Alex Reitzenstein and Nina Hall. 2020. “Blessing or a Curse? The Effects of Earmarked Funding in UNICEF and UNDP”. Global Governance: A Review of Multilateralism and International Organization, 27 (3), 2021.

Hall, Nina and Ngaire Woods et. al ‘Effective Leadership in International Organizations’, World Economic Forum. May 2015

Hall, Nina and Ngaire Woods, ‘How to select the next UN Secretary General’, Project Syndicate, May 4 2015.

Hall, Nina and Ngaire Woods, ‘Leading the New Change’, in UN Sustainable Development Goals, The People’s Agenda, United Nations Association-UK and Witan Media, April 2016, 156 – 169.