Advertisement

Understanding Service Contracting and Its Impact on NGO Development in China

  • Rong Zhao
  • Zhongsheng Wu
  • Chuanjin Tao
Original Paper

Abstract

The Chinese government and human service NPOs are joining the bandwagon of service contracting with enthusiasm. Although this new policy endeavor has attracted much interest, empirical studies are scant. Drawing from interviews with 14 nonprofit organizations and two government officials conducted in 2012 and 2014, along with abundant secondary data, this paper analyzes the impact of China’s service contracting on the following: the social service delivery system, the promotion of NGOs development, and the nature of government-nonprofit relationship. The study found that service contracting has positive impacts on NGOs, such as facilitating their fundraising through sharing the government’s legitimacy. However, the majority of contract funding went to organizations that have a close government connection. We argue that the future of China’s service contracting is determined by the Chinese government’s primary political agenda, which is social control.

Keywords

Service contracting NGO development Civil society China 

Résumé

Le gouvernement chinois et les OSBL du domaine des services sociaux prennent le marché des prestations de services d’assaut avec entrain. Même si cette nouvelle initiative politique a soulevé un grand intérêt, les études empiriques à son sujet se font rares. Tiré d’entrevues menées, en 2012 et 2014, auprès de 14 organismes sans but lucratif et 2 représentants du gouvernement, en plus de nombreuses données secondaires, cet article analyse l’incidence dudit marché en Chine en fonction du système de prestations des services sociaux; de la promotion du développement des ONG; et de la nature des relations qui unissent le gouvernement aux OSBL. L’étude a démontré que le marché des prestations de services a une incidence positive sur les ONG, notamment sur leurs campagnes de financement, qui sont favorisées par le partage de la légitimité du gouvernement. La majorité du financement a cependant été affectée aux organisations ayant des liens étroits avec ce dernier. Nous faisons valoir que l’avenir du marché des prestations de services de la Chine sera déterminé par le principal programme politique du gouvernement chinois, à savoir le contrôle social.

Zusammenfassung

Die chinesische Regierung und sozialen gemeinnützigen Organisationen folgen derzeit enthusiastisch dem Trend der Auftragsvergabe im Dienstleistungsbereich. Obwohl diese neuen politischen Anstrengungen viel Interesse wecken, gibt es kaum empirische Studien. Der vorliegende Beitrag stützt sich auf Interviews mit 14 gemeinnützigen Organisationen und zwei Regierungsbeamten aus den Jahren 2012 und 2014 sowie reichliche Sekundärdaten und analysiert die Auswirkungen von Chinas Auftragsvergabe im Dienstleistungsbereich auf folgende Punkte: das Bereitstellungssystem für soziale Dienstleistungen, die Förderung der Entwicklung nicht-staatlicher Organisationen und die Beziehung zwischen Regierung und gemeinnützigen Organisationen. Die Studie kam zu dem Ergebnis, dass sich die Auftragsvergabe im Dienstleistungsbereich positiv auf nicht-staatliche Organisationen auswirkt, z. B. eine Erleichterung bei der Mittelbeschaffung aufgrund einer mit der Regierung geteilten Legitimation. Allerdings ging ein Großteil der Auftragsfinanzierung an Organisationen, die eine enge Verbindung zur Regierung haben. Wir behaupten, dass die Zunkunft der Auftragsvergabe im Dienstleistungsbereich in China von der wichtigsten politischen Agenda der chinesischen Regierung - der sozialen Kontrolle - gesteuert wird.

Resumen

El gobierno chino y las organizaciones chinas de servicios sociales sin ánimo de lucro se están incorporando al carro de la contratación de servicios con entusiasmo. Aunque este nuevo esfuerzo político ha atraído mucho interés, los estudios empíricos son escasos. Partiendo de entrevistas con 14 organizaciones sin ánimo de lucro y dos funcionarios gubernamentales realizadas en 2012 y 2014, junto con abundantes datos secundarios, el presente documento analiza el impacto de la contratación de servicios de China sobre lo siguiente: el sistema de entrega de servicios sociales, la promoción del desarrollo de ONG, y la naturaleza de la relación gobierno-organizaciones sin ánimo de lucro. El estudio encontró que la contratación de servicios tiene impactos positivos sobre las ONG, tales como facilitar su recaudación de fondos al compartir la legitimidad del gobierno. Sin embargo, la mayor parte de la financiación de contratos fue a organizaciones que tienen una estrecha conexión con el gobierno. Argumentamos que el futuro de la contratación de servicios en China está determinado por la agenda política fundamental del gobierno chino, que es el control social.

摘要

近年来,中国政府和人类服务NPO正争先恐后地参与到社会服务外包的流行实践中来。尽管这项新政策吸引了很多学者和实践者的关注,实证研究依然很少。基于2012年和2014年对14个非营利组织和2位政府官员的访谈以及大量二手资料,本文分析了中国政府购买NPO服务在以下方面的影响: 社会服务提供体系、促进NGO发展以及政府与非营利组织关系的性质。研究发现,购买服务对NGO有着积极的影响,例如通过分享政府的合法性提高了后者的筹款潜力。然而,大部分购买服务资金会流入了与政府关系密切的组织中。我们认为,中国政府购买NGO服务的未来走向,取决于中国政府的主要政治议程–社会控制。

要約

中国政府と福祉のNPO団体は、熱意をもって契約サービスのバンドワゴンに参加している。この方針の新しい試みは多くの関心を集めているが、実証的研究は乏しい。本論文では、非営利団体14団体と2012年と2014年に実施された2名の政府関係者とのインタビューから、中国のサービスの契約における影響、つまり社会サービス配信システム、NGOの開発推進と政府非営利関係の性質を分析する。本研究から、サービス契約ではNGOに対する肯定的な影響、政府の合法性の共有を介して資金調達を促進することなどが分かった。しかしながら、政府と関係を持つ組織は契約の資金の大半を受け取った。中国のサービスの将来は、中国政府の主な政治課題、つまり社会管理によって決定されることを議論する。

ملخص

الحكومة الصينية والمنظمات الغير ربحية (NPO) لخدمة الإنسان ينضمون إلى التعاقد للخدمة بحماس. على الرغم من أن هذا المسعى السياسي الجديد قد جذب الكثير من الاهتمام، الدراسات التجريبية قليلة. نستنتج من المقابلات مع 14 منظمة غير ربحية واثنين من المسؤولين الحكوميين التي أجريت في عام 2012 وعام 2014، إلى جانب بيانات ثانوية كثيرة، هذا البحث يحلل أثر تعاقد الخدمات فى الصين على ما يلي: نظام تقديم الخدمات الاجتماعية، تعزيز تطويرالمنظمات الغير حكومية (NGO)، و طبيعة علاقة الحكومة -الغير ربحية. وجدت الدراسة أن تعاقد الخدمة له آثار إيجابية على المنظمات الغير حكومية (NGO)، مثل تسهيل جمع التبرعات من خلال تقاسم شرعية الحكومة. مع ذلك، غالبية عقد التمويل ذهب للمنظمات التي لها صلة وثيقة بالحكومة. نحن نجادل أن مستقبل تعاقد الخدمات فى الصين يتحدد عن طريق جدول الأعمال السياسية الأساسي للحكومة الصينية، وهو السيطرة الإجتماعية.

Notes

Acknowledgments

We gratefully thank Adam Pellegrini and Leny Celada, from the Writing Center at Columbia University School of Social Work, for their assistance in revising our language. We appreciate the valuable comments and suggestions that we received from the audience, when we presented the draft of the paper in ARNOVA’s 43th Annual Conference | November 19–21, 2014, Denver, CO. We are also greatly thankful for the anonymous reviewers’ suggestions and comments.

Funding

This study was funded by The Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China’s Research Grant for Philosophy and Social Science. This study was a subproject of the funded project named: “Mechanisms of Government’s Collaboration with NGOs in Human Service Delivery and Social Administration in China” (Grant Number: 12JZD021).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

References

  1. Alexander, J., Nank, R., & Stivers, C. (1999). Implications of welfare reform: Do nonprofit survival strategies threaten civil society? Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 28(4), 452–475.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Brooks, A. C. (2000). Is there a dark side to government support for nonprofits? Public Administration Review, 60(3), 211–218.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Brown, L. K., & Troutt, E. (2004). Funding relations between nonprofits and government: A positive example. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 33(1), 5–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Chan, C. S. C. (2004). The Falun Gong in China: a sociological perspective. The China Quarterly, 179, 665–683.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. China Charity Information Centre. (2014). 中国政府购买社会组织服务研究报告 (Research Report of China’ Service Contracting). Beijing: China Charity Information Centre.Google Scholar
  6. Creswell, J. W. (2012). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five approaches. Los Angeles: SAGE Publications.Google Scholar
  7. Deng, Z. (2008). 国家与社会: 中国市民社会研究 (State and society: Research on Civil Society in China). Beijing: Peking University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Diamond, A. M, Jr. (1999). Does federal funding” crowd in” private funding of science? Contemporary Economic Policy, 17(4), 423.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Eikenberry, A. M., & Kluver, J. D. (2004). The Marketization of the Nonprofit Sector: Civil Society at Risk? Public Administration Review, 64(2), 132–140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Fan, H. (2004). The Key Issues in reforming Public Service Units. China Economic & Trade Herald, 8, 2–3.Google Scholar
  11. GoneGirl. (2015). 在中国做公益反歧视是一种什么样的体验 (What does the experience look like working for anti-discrimination cause in China?).Google Scholar
  12. Grønbjerg, K. A. (1993). Understanding nonprofit funding: managing revenues in social services and community development organizations. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  13. Han, J. (2009). 当前我国非政府组织参与政府购买服务的模式比较 (Comparing three current service contracting models in China). 经济社会体制比较 (Economic and Social Structure Comparison), 6, 128–134.Google Scholar
  14. Heutel, G. (2014). Crowding out and crowding in of private donations and government grants. Public Finance Review, 42(2), 143–175.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Jacobs, A. (June 17, 2015). Foreign Groups Fear China Oversight Plan, The New York Times.Google Scholar
  16. Jia, X. (2006). “Partnership”: Lessons from the Government-nonprofit Relationships in the UK. Xue Hui, 6, 31–34.Google Scholar
  17. Kang, X. (2010). 行政吸纳社会−−当代中国大陆国家与社会关系研究 (Government taking in society: The relationship of government and society in contemporary China). Beijing: Global Publishing.Google Scholar
  18. Kettl, D. F. (1997). The global revolution in public management: Driving themes, missing links. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 16(3), 446–462.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Kramer, R. M. (1994). Voluntary Agencies and the Contract Culture: “Dream or Nightmare?”. Social Service Review, 68(1), 33–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Li-an, Z. (2007). Governing China’s local officials: An analysis of promotion tournament model. Economic Research Journal, 7, 36–50.Google Scholar
  21. Liu, P. (2007). 结社自由及其限制 (Association Freedom and Restrictions). Beijing: Social Sciences Academic Press.Google Scholar
  22. Marwell, N. P. (2004). Privatizing the welfare state: Nonprofit community-based organizations as political actors. American Sociological Review69(2), 265–291.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Okten, C., & Weisbrod, B. A. (2000). Determinants of donations in private nonprofit markets. Journal of Public Economics, 75(2), 255–272.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Peng, H., & Huang, Y. (2006). Welfare pluralism: Welfare provision transformation from state to multi-sectors. Nankai Journal, 6, 40–48.Google Scholar
  25. Powell, W. W., & DiMaggio, P. J. (1991). The new institutionalism in organizational analysis. Chicago: University of Chicago Press Chicago.Google Scholar
  26. Rathgeb, S., & Gronbjerg, K. (2006). Scope and theory of government-nonprofit relations. In The Nonprofit (Ed.), Sector: A research handbook (pp. 221–242). New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Salamon, L. M. (1987). Of market failure, voluntary failure, and third-party government: Toward a theory of government-nonprofit relations in the modern welfare state. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 16(1–2), 29–49. doi: 10.1177/089976408701600104. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Salamon, L. M. (1993). The marketization of welfare: Changing nonprofit and for-profit roles in the American welfare state. The Social Service Review, 67(1), 16–39.Google Scholar
  29. Salamon, L. M. (1995). Partners in public service: Government-nonprofit relations in the modern welfare state. Baltimore: JHU Press.Google Scholar
  30. Salamon, L. M. (1999). America’s nonprofit sector: A primer. New York: Foundation Center.Google Scholar
  31. Salamon, L. M., & Anheier, H. K. (1998). Social origins of civil society: Explaining the nonprofit sector cross-nationally. Voluntas: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations, 9(3), 213–248.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Steinberg, R. (1991). Does government spending crowd out donations? Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, 62(4), 591–612.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Steinberg, R. (2003). Economic theories of nonprofit organizations. The study of the nonprofit enterprise (pp. 277–309). Berlin: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Sun, L. (1993). 自由流动资源与自由活动空间—改革过程中中国社会结构的变迁 (Free flowing resources and free acting space-the social structure change in China’s reform). 探索 (Exploration), 28–36.Google Scholar
  35. Sun, J. (2005). On Management System Reform of China’s Institution Unit. Wuhan: Wuhan University.Google Scholar
  36. Teets, J. C. (2014). Civil Society under authoritarianism: The China model. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. The World Bank. (2005). China: Deepening Public Service Unit reform to improve service delivery (pp. 4–23).Google Scholar
  38. Wang, M. (2002). 非营利组织管理概论 (Introduction to theories of nonprofit organization management). Beijing: China Renmin University Press.Google Scholar
  39. Wang, M. (2008). 中国民间组织三十年--走向公民社会 (Chinese NPOs in the past 30 years). Beijing: Social Sciences Academic Press.Google Scholar
  40. Wang, L. (2013). 民政部: 四类社会组织全国试点直接登记 (The Ministry of Civil Affairs: National experiment of direct registration of four types of NPOs). Shanghai: The First Financial Daily.Google Scholar
  41. Wang, M., & Le, Y. (2008). 中国民间组织参与公共服务购买的模式分析 (Analysis on models of NPOs participating in government service contracting). 中共浙江省委党校学报 (Journal of Zhejiang Provincial Party School), 4.Google Scholar
  42. Wei, M. (2011). Guangdong NPOs do not need operational management organizations for registration any more. Beijing: The Beijing News.Google Scholar
  43. Xia, K. J. (2014). 发挥人民团体枢纽作用 促进社会组织健康发展 (Utilizing the pivotal role of people’s organizations and promoting the healthy development of NGOs). Shanghai: Jiefang Daily.Google Scholar
  44. Xu, Y. (2009). 从政府包办到政府购买: 中国社会福利服务供给的新路径 (From the government arrangement to government purchasing: A new supplying path of social Welfare Services in China). Nanjing: Nanjing Social Sciences.Google Scholar
  45. Yang, S. (2014). Beginnng Government Purchase of Service Contacting and Transfering Government-employed Community Workers into Employees of NGOs. Chengdu: West China City News.Google Scholar
  46. Zhang, K., & Zhang, X. (2013). 科学构建枢纽型社会组织 (Scientifically establishing hub nonprofit organizations). Beijing: People’s Daily.Google Scholar
  47. Zheng, S. (2009). 政府购买公共服务: 以公益性非营利组织为重要合作伙伴 (Government purchase of service contracting: Partnering with philanthropic nonprofit organizations). Chinese Public Administration, 6, 65–69.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© International Society for Third-Sector Research and The Johns Hopkins University 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Social Policy & AdministrationColumbia University School of Social WorkNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Public Policy AnalysisUniversity of Maryland School of Public PolicyCollege ParkUSA
  3. 3.Public Management and Nonprofit ManagementBeijing Normal University School of Social Development and Public PolicyBeijingPeople’s Republic of China

Personalised recommendations