Do international institutions shape the behaviour of states, or is it the other way around? International relations theorists, taking into account developments in global governance, have moved closer together in the core and specific assumptions about what to expect in this regard. Realists and liberal institutionalists accept that institutions exist to manage interdependence, and that relative power determines how conflicts are resolved and authoritative decisions taken. However, realists are more likely than liberals to view the continued existence of institutions as contingent on great power preferences. Abandoning institutional rules of the game to pursue alternatives are real choices available to great powers, particularly if those rules cannot be redirected to support what they deem to be the national interest.