Organizational Values and the Network Governance of International Nongovernmental Organizations
AuthorBeagles, Jonathan E.
AdvisorMilward, H. Brinton
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
EmbargoRelease after 16-Sep-2018
AbstractThis study asks the following questions: What explains the governance structures of inter-organizational networks? Are the multiple levels of network governance studied in the public (forms of coordination) and nonprofit literatures (network boards) related or do they respond to different driving influences such a dominant stakeholder group (Brown, Ebrahim and Batliwala, 2012) or the need to balance internal tensions (Provan & Kenis, 2008)? And are the values outlined in a network's vision, mission and values statements related to the governance structures they adopt? From this comparative case study of 41 humanitarian INGO networks, using a mixed methods research design, I find evidence for the following conclusions. First, the structural dimensions of network governance do indeed appear to cluster around two key components, the structure of the network board and a network's form of coordination, and these two dimensions are only loosely related. Second, while a network's form of coordination appears to be most related to internal dynamics related to size and resource disparities within the network; values, as well as philosophical and regional origins combine with age to provide the best explanation for why a network board is structured the way that it is. Although a balanced funding structure does appear to allow some secular networks to decentralize. And only when a network is sufficiently small and homogenous do factors such as the purpose of network coordination appear to impact how it is coordinated. And third, the values expressed by humanitarian INGO networks appear to vary along two dimensions (i.e. their general orientation and their approach to humanitarian action) although these dimensions are generally consistent with a three sector value trichotomy: Aligning with either a market, public or non-profit sector value system. In general, these findings support the propositions from the most recent theories of network governance in both the public (Provan & Kenis, 2008) and nonprofit (Brown, Ebrahim & Batliwala, 2012) literature. However, some extensions are proposed. First, the results of this study support the proposition that a network’s purpose influences the form of coordination it adopts. This contrasts with other empirical tests of this proposition. Second, the detailing of the various network governance characteristics that comprise the general network board structure expand and add clarity to the discussion of network forms. Specifically, how members are represented on a network board appear to be closely related to the purpose of coordination adopted by the network. And finally, nonprofit organizations appear to express values from the market, public and nonprofit values systems. However, each network tends to express a set of values consistent with just one of these value systems. And these values appear to be related to how the network is structured. Specifically, values appear to serve as a filter through which other environmental factors such as philosophical origins, regional culture and the era can influence the structure and functioning of a network. This moves forward the values discussion within these literatures by expressly connecting values to structure, which itself has been linked consistently to issues such as strategy and effectiveness.
Degree ProgramGraduate College