Flexibility in Border Security: A Case Study of the Dutch Border Security Team

  • E. de WaardEmail author
  • J. P. Kalkman
  • M. T. I. B. Bollen
Part of the NL ARMS book series (NLARMS)


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.


Uncertainty Flexibility Frontex Crisis management Organizational autonomy Border Security Team 


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Copyright information

© T.M.C. Asser press and the authors 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. de Waard
    • 1
    Email author
  • J. P. Kalkman
    • 2
    • 1
    • 3
  • M. T. I. B. Bollen
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Military SciencesNetherlands Defence AcademyBredaThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of Organization SciencesVU UniversityAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  3. 3.TNO Defence, Safety and SecuritySoesterbergThe Netherlands

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