CAREER: The Impact of Interorganizational Network Evolution on Outcomes for Nongovernmental Organizations (NGOs)

Project: Research project

Project Details


Around the world, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), grassroots movements, governments, cooperatives, and universities are discovering that the fight against issues such as poverty, hunger, disease, pandemics, disasters, and environmental degradation requires new forms of organizing, self-organizing networks (Contractor, 1994; Fukuyama, 1999). The networked form of governance represents an empowerment approach to issues of poverty and development (Melkote, 2002), and enables different constituencies to transcend boundaries and work toward common goals (Cooperrider & Dutton, 1999; Stohl & Stohl, 2005). <br> The current research hypothesizes that a NGO’s capacity to address problems of disease and development is dependent upon its local network relationships with other NGOs, businesses, and government organizations. This research combines social network analysis methods with intensive assessment to produce: (a) a reliable and valid measure of NGO capacity and (b) results about the relationships between NGO networks and their organizational capacities. To produce these outcomes, a research team including graduate and undergraduate students will conduct surveys and interviews intensively in Champaign-Urbana, IL and SanJosé, Costa Rica. Then, beginning with the population of international NGOs addressing disease and development from the Yearbook of International Organizations, the research team will examine the relationship between NGOs’ local networks and their organizational capacities. <br> Integrative teaching and research objectives are essential to the success of this project. Two bridge level courses, including undergraduate and graduate students, will be taught. In the first class, Nonprofit Management, students will both learn about the organizational processes that lead to success in NGOs and conduct assessments of local nonprofit organizations’ capacity. In the second class, Social Network Analysis, students will create interactive network visualizations of NGO networks and disseminate them through a website for the project. <br> <b>Intellectual merit</b>. Although previous research has examined trends in NGO collaboration, case studies of partnerships between NGOs and businesses, and the reported relationships between governments and NGOs, research that focuses on the outcomes of Interorganizational networks for NGOs is lacking. As such, claims about the impacts of different forms of NGO networking lack generalizability, making prescriptions based on idiosyncratic cases.
Effective start/end date7/1/125/31/16


  • National Science Foundation (SES-1264417)


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