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Control and autonomy: resource dependence relations and non-profit organizations

Arvidson, Malin LU and Linde, Stig LU (2021) In Journal of Organizational Ethnography 10(2). p.207-221
Abstract
Abstract
Purpose – For non-profit organizations (NPOs) external funding is an essential resource. Studies highlight how control is attributed to funders and so external funding threatens the autonomy of the recipient organization. The purpose of this study is to investigate how external control can be structured and exercised,
and to explore how control interacts with organizational autonomy.
Design/methodology/approach – The research is based on interviews and participant observations with NPOs and their funders over a period of time. It reports from four different funding-relations: contract-based,
social investment, gift-funded and civil society–public partnership. The concept of organizational discretion is used to... (More)
Abstract
Purpose – For non-profit organizations (NPOs) external funding is an essential resource. Studies highlight how control is attributed to funders and so external funding threatens the autonomy of the recipient organization. The purpose of this study is to investigate how external control can be structured and exercised,
and to explore how control interacts with organizational autonomy.
Design/methodology/approach – The research is based on interviews and participant observations with NPOs and their funders over a period of time. It reports from four different funding-relations: contract-based,
social investment, gift-funded and civil society–public partnership. The concept of organizational discretion is used to analyse how control and autonomy are interconnected in these relationship.
Findings – The analysis illustrates the value in exposing the different discretionary boundaries related to external control and how control can become a sparring partner in the organization’s striving for autonomy.
A concluding argument is that control and autonomy are each other’s companions rather than antagonists. The study leads us to question a general assumption that NPOs strive to avoid resource dependence and
external control but instead may use such control to develop strategies for independence and self-realization.
Originality/value – The empirical material is unique as it includes voices of recipient organizations and funders, and offers a comparison of different controlling-relations. The study presents an innovative analytical
framework based on the concepts of discretionary space and reasoning, which supports a critical discussion regarding the idea of external control as detrimental to the autonomy of NPOs. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
and
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Control, Resource dependence, Autonomy, Nonprofit organizations, Accountability, Nonprofit organizations, Autonomy, Control, Accountability, Resource dependence
in
Journal of Organizational Ethnography
volume
10
issue
2
pages
207 - 221
publisher
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
external identifiers
  • scopus:85104005541
ISSN
2046-6749
DOI
10.1108/JOE-05-2020-0021
project
Granskningssamhällets krav och civilsamhällets (re)aktioner
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
65237534-398d-4e4d-a4e8-c94c2f50db71
date added to LUP
2021-04-08 21:41:16
date last changed
2022-07-28 00:21:10
@article{65237534-398d-4e4d-a4e8-c94c2f50db71,
  abstract     = {{Abstract<br/>Purpose – For non-profit organizations (NPOs) external funding is an essential resource. Studies highlight how control is attributed to funders and so external funding threatens the autonomy of the recipient organization. The purpose of this study is to investigate how external control can be structured and exercised,<br/>and to explore how control interacts with organizational autonomy.<br/>Design/methodology/approach – The research is based on interviews and participant observations with NPOs and their funders over a period of time. It reports from four different funding-relations: contract-based,<br/>social investment, gift-funded and civil society–public partnership. The concept of organizational discretion is used to analyse how control and autonomy are interconnected in these relationship.<br/>Findings – The analysis illustrates the value in exposing the different discretionary boundaries related to external control and how control can become a sparring partner in the organization’s striving for autonomy.<br/>A concluding argument is that control and autonomy are each other’s companions rather than antagonists. The study leads us to question a general assumption that NPOs strive to avoid resource dependence and<br/>external control but instead may use such control to develop strategies for independence and self-realization.<br/>Originality/value – The empirical material is unique as it includes voices of recipient organizations and funders, and offers a comparison of different controlling-relations. The study presents an innovative analytical<br/>framework based on the concepts of discretionary space and reasoning, which supports a critical discussion regarding the idea of external control as detrimental to the autonomy of NPOs.}},
  author       = {{Arvidson, Malin and Linde, Stig}},
  issn         = {{2046-6749}},
  keywords     = {{Control; Resource dependence; Autonomy; Nonprofit organizations; Accountability; Nonprofit organizations; Autonomy; Control; Accountability; Resource dependence}},
  language     = {{eng}},
  month        = {{04}},
  number       = {{2}},
  pages        = {{207--221}},
  publisher    = {{Emerald Group Publishing Limited}},
  series       = {{Journal of Organizational Ethnography}},
  title        = {{Control and autonomy: resource dependence relations and non-profit organizations}},
  url          = {{http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/JOE-05-2020-0021}},
  doi          = {{10.1108/JOE-05-2020-0021}},
  volume       = {{10}},
  year         = {{2021}},
}