Success and Failure of Nonprofit Organizations: Theoretical Foundations, Empirical Evidence, and Future Research

ORIGINAL PAPER

Abstract

Success and failure of nonprofit organizations (NPOs) have been prominent themes in the nonprofit community for more than 30 years. However, since there is no common understanding on success and failure of NPOs, the research field is still fragmented. Drawing from research on organizational success and failure in the for-profit context as a theoretical background, this paper systemizes the academic knowledge on NPO success and failure. By shedding light on theoretical approaches used, empirical evidence on the determinants of these constructs, and the sectors analyzed most frequently in this regard, the paper develops an instructive research agenda concerning studies on success and failure of NPOs.

Keywords

Success Failure Nonprofit organizations Organizational performance Organizational death Research agenda 

Résumé

Le succès et de l’échec d’associations à but non lucratif représentent depuis plus de 30 ans des sujets éminents dans la branche. Cependant, dû à l’absence de définitions communes des termes succès et échec, ce domaine de recherche reste fragmenté. Basé sur des connaissances théoriques concernant le succès et l’échec des organisations à but lucratifs, cet article systématise les connaissances académiques concernant les associations à but non lucratif. Illustrant les approches théoriques utilisées, les preuves empiriques des facteurs déterminants le succès et l’échec ainsi que les domaines d’activités analysés les plus fréquemment à cet égard, cet article établit un programme de recherche instructif concernant le succès et l’échec d’associations à but non lucratif.

Zusammenfassung

Seit über 30 Jahren sind Erfolg und Misserfolg von Nonprofit-Organisationen präsente Themen in der Nonprofit-Forschung. Nichtsdestotrotz hat sich bis heute kein einheitliches Begriffsverständnis von Erfolg und/oder Misserfolg von Nonprofit-Organisationen etabliert. Mit diesem Papier wird versucht diesen Missstand zu beseitigen und die vorhandene Literatur zu Erfolg und Misserfolg von Nonprofit-Organisationen zu systematisieren. So illustriert dieser Beitrag die in diesem Kontext verwendeten theoretischen Ansätze, identifiziert Einflussgrößen auf den Erfolg und Misserfolg von Nonprofit-Organisationen und zeigt auf, welche Nonprofit-Sektoren in diesem Zusammenhang am häufigsten untersucht werden. Dabei dient die Literatur zu Erfolg/Misserfolg von privat-erwerbswirtschaftlichen Unternehmen als theoretischer Hintergrund. Auf Basis dieser Erkenntnisse wird schließlich eine Forschungsagenda für den Forschungsbereich “Erfolg und Misserfolg von Nonprofit-Organisationen” entwickelt.

Resumen

El éxito y el fracaso de las organizaciones sin ánimo de lucro (NPO, del inglés nonprofit organizations) han sido temas predominantes en la comunidad de organizaciones sin ánimo de lucro durante más de 30 años. Sin embargo, dado que no hay ninguna comprensión común sobre el éxito y el fracaso de las NPO, el campo de investigación sigue todavía fragmentado. Utilizando la investigación sobre el éxito y el fracaso organizativo en el contexto de organizaciones con ánimo de lucro como un antecedente teórico, el presente documento sistematiza el conocimiento académico sobre el éxito y el fracaso de las NPO. Arrojando luz sobre los enfoques teóricos utilizados, la evidencia empírica sobre los determinantes de estos constructos, y los sectores analizados con más frecuencia en este sentido, se desarrolla una agenda de investigación instructiva relativa a los estudios sobre el éxito y el fracaso de las NPO.

摘要

三十多年来,非营利机构(NPO)的成败一直是非营利界的重大主题。然而,由于人们对NPO的成败未形成统一的认识,这一方面的研究领域仍然呈现片状。以营利组织成败的研究作为理论背景,本篇论文系统性地呈现NPO成败的学术知识。通过阐释使用的理论方法、这些理论结构中决定因素相关的经验证据以及这一方面分析最为频繁的部门,本篇论文制定了有关NPO成败研究的指导性研究议题。

要約

30年間以上活動する非営利団体にとって、非営利団体(NPOs)の成功と失敗は重大なテーマである。しかしながら、NPOの成功と失敗についての共通理解はないため、本研究分野ではまだ断片化されたままである。本論文では理論上の背景として、利益の背景となる組織の成功と失敗の研究を導いて、特定非営利活動法人の成功と失敗に関する学術的知識を組織化させる。理論上のアプローチを用いて、これらの構造物の決定因に関する実証的証拠および最も頻繁に分析された部門に注目して、NPOの成功と失敗に関する研究の研究課題に発展させる。

ملخص

أصبح النجاح والفشل للمنظمات الغير ربحية (NPOs) من المواضيع البارزة في المجتمعات الغير ربحية لأكثر من 30 عام. مع ذلك، حيث إنه لا يوجد فهم مشترك حول النجاح والفشل للمنظمات الغير ربحية (NPOs) ، لا يزال مجال البحوث مجزأ. نستنج من البحوث على النجاح التنظيمي والفشل في سياق الربح كخلفية نظرية، هذا البحث يصنف المعرفة الأكاديمية على نجاح وفشل المنظمات الغير ربحية (NPO). يسلط الضوء على المناهج النظرية المستخدمة، الأدلة التجريبية على محددات هذه التركيبات، تحليل القطاعات في معظم الأحيان في هذا الصدد، إنه يضع جدول أعمال للبحوث مفيد بشأن دراسات عن النجاح والفشل للمنظمات الغير ربحية (NPOs).

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Copyright information

© International Society for Third-Sector Research and The Johns Hopkins University 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bernd Helmig
    • 1
  • Stefan Ingerfurth
    • 1
  • Alexander Pinz
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Business Administration, Public & Nonprofit ManagementUniversity of MannheimMannheimGermany

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