Heidi Hardt, Ph.D.


University of California, Irvine

City: Irvine, California

Country: United States

About Me:

Heidi Hardt is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Irvine. Her research examines effectiveness, knowledge and change in international organizations, particularly in conflict management. She has expertise in NATO, the EU, UN, international cooperation, crisis management, military operations, organizational learning, organizational culture, gender mainstreaming and gender in STEM. Hardt has authored two books: NATO’s Lessons in Crisis: Institutional Memory in International Organization (Oxford University Press, 2018) and Time to React: The Efficiency of International Organizations in Crisis Response (Oxford University Press, 2014). Hardt received her PhD from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva and her MSc in European Studies from the London School of Economics.

Research Interests

International Law & Organization

Military Intervention


European Politics

Conflict Processes & War

Gender and Politics

Specific Areas of Interest


Peace And Conflict

Gender & Military

United Nations

European Union

Organizational Learning

My Research:

My research examines efficiency, effectiveness, institutional memory and change in international organizations such as NATO, the European Union (EU), the African Union among others. My research interests include: decision-making, delegation, organizational performance, organizational change (e.g. institutional memory, learning, reforms), crisis response, crisis management, civilian and military operations, operational effectiveness, gender in conflict, gender representation and gender mainstreaming. I have particular expertise in NATO, the EU, the AU, the OAS, the OSCE and the UN. My research is published or forthcoming in numerous scholarly journals, including the Journal of Politics, Global Governance, Review of International Organizations, PS: Political Science & Politics, the Journal of Global Security Studies, European Security and African SecurityI have received grants to support my research from the National Science Foundation, the Fulbright Commission, the American Political Science Association and NATO Science for Peace and Security. I have also interviewed more than 250 elites. 


Books Written:

(2018) NATO's Lessons in Crisis: Institutional Memory in International Organizations, Oxford University Press

In crisis management operations, strategic errors can cost lives. Some international organizations (IOs) learn from these failures whereas others tend to repeat them. Given that they have high rates of turnover, how is it possible that any IO retains knowledge about the past? This book introduces an argument for how and why IOs develop institutional memory from their efforts to manage crises. Findings indicate that the design of an IO's learning infrastructure (e.g. lessons learned offices and databases) can inadvertently disincentivize IO elites from using it to share knowledge about strategic errors. Elites - high-level officials in IOs - perceive reporting to be a risky endeavour. In response, they develop institutional memory by creating and using informal processes, including transnational interpersonal networks, private documentation and conversations during crisis management exercises. The result is an institutional memory that is highly dependent on only a handful of individuals. The book draws on the author's interviews and a survey experiment with 120 NATO elites across four countries. Cases of NATO crisis management in Afghanistan, Libya and Ukraine further illustrate the development of institutional memory. Findings challenge existing research on organizational learning by suggesting that formal learning processes alone are insufficient for ensuring that learning happens. The book also offers recommendations to policymakers for strengthening the learning capacity of IOs.

(2014) Time to React: The Efficiency of International Organizations in Crisis Response, Oxford University Press

Tags: Peacekeeping, International Law & Organization, Military Intervention

In conflict-affected regions, delays in international response can have life or death consequences. The speed with which international organizations react to crises affects the prospects for communities to re-establish peace. Why then do some international organizations take longer than others to answer calls for intervention? To answer this question and explore options for reform, Time to React builds on contemporary scholarship with original data on response rates and interview evidence from 50 ambassadors across four leading organizations (AU, EU, OAS and OSCE). The explanation for variation in speed ultimately lies in core differences in institutional cultures across organizations. Although wealth and capabilities can strengthen a peace operation, it is the unspoken rules and social networks of peace and security committees at these organizations that dictate the pace with which an operation is established. This book offers a first analysis of the critical importance of and conditions shaping timeliness of crisis response by international organizations.

Media Appearances:

Radio Appearances:

(2018) BBC News

Analysis of NATO Summit in Brussels Interview begins at 13:40.


(2019) Defense & Aerospace Report

UC Irvine’s Hardt on New Book, “NATO’s Lessons in Crisis,” Organizational Institutional Memory. April 4. Video Podcast Interview.