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Saving the Moral Capital of NGOs: Identifying One-Sided and Many-Sided Social Dilemmas in NGO Accountability

  • Stefan Hielscher
  • Jan Winkin
  • Angela Crack
  • Ingo Pies
Original Paper

Abstract

The literature on nonprofit management has embraced the concept of “accountability” to target urgent challenges related to NGO probity and integrity, and there have been attempts in the literature to use rational-choice-based governance approaches to solve them. Although the existing principal–agent frameworks provide important insights, they are limited to the analysis of financial relationships between NGOs and donors. We contribute to the literature in developing a comprehensive rational-choice-based governance approach to analyze all stakeholder relationships of NGOs. Applying the research program of ordonomics, we unpack two fundamental interaction problems: (a) the “stakeholder dilemma” between the NGO and a single accountability holder as a one-sided social dilemma and (b) the “competition dilemma” among rival NGOs as a many-sided social dilemma. We show that improving NGO accountability in relation to intended beneficiaries, peer organizations, and the general public also requires identifying the underlying governance problem as a competition dilemma focusing on collective self-regulation as a solution.

Keywords

NGO accountability Social dilemma analysis Advocacy Governance Ordonomics 

Résumé

La documentation sur la gestion des organismes sans but lucratif a embrassé le concept de « responsabilisation » pour cibler les défis urgents associés à la probité et à l’intégrité des ONG, et on y retrouve plusieurs tentatives d’utilisation des approches de gouvernance fondée sur des motifs rationnels pour les surmonter. Même si les cadres de type mandat-mandataire existants procurent des renseignements essentiels, ils se limitent à l’analyse des relations financières entre les ONG et les donateurs. Nous contribuons à ladite documentation en créant une approche complète de gouvernance fondée sur des motifs rationnels pour analyser les relations de tous les intervenants avec les ONG. En appliquant le programme de recherche ordonomique, nous découvrons deux problèmes interactionnels fondamentaux : (a) le « dilemme de l’intervenant » impliquant l’ONG et un seul individu responsable, présentant un dilemme social à une facette, et (b) le « dilemme de la concurrence » entre les ONG rivales, présentant un dilemme social à facettes multiples. Nous démontrons que la hausse de la responsabilisation des ONG envers les bénéficiaires « prévus », les organisations paires et le public en général requiert aussi l’identification du problème de gouvernance sous-jacent dans le cadre d’un dilemme de concurrence concentré sur l’autoréglementation collective comme solution.

Zusammenfassung

Die Literatur zum Nonprofit-Management beschäftigt sich mit dem Konzept der „Rechenschaft“, um wichtige Probleme im Zusammenhang mit der Rechtschaffenheit und Integrität von Nichtregierungsorganisationen (NROs) anzusprechen. Es wurde versucht, die Probleme mithilfe von Führungsansätzen zu lösen, die auf rationalen Entscheidungen beruhen (rational-choice-based governance). Zwar geben bestehende Prinzipal-Agent-Rahmenwerke wichtige Einblicke, doch beschränken sie sich auf die Analyse der finanziellen Beziehungen zwischen den NROs und den Spendern. Wir leisten einen Beitrag zur Literatur, indem wir einen umfassenden auf rationalen Entscheidungen beruhenden Führungsansatz entwickeln, um alle Stakeholder-Beziehungen der NROs zu analysieren. Unter Anwendung des ordonomischen Forschungsprogramms ergründen wir zwei wesentliche Interaktionsprobleme: (a) das „Stakeholder-Dilemma“ zwischen der NRO und einer Einzelperson, die Rechenschaft fordert, als einseitiges soziales Dilemma und (b) das „Wettbewerbsdilemma“ zwischen konkurrierenden NROs als vielseitiges soziales Dilemma. Es wird dargelegt, dass zur Verbesserung der Rechenschaft von NROs in Bezug auf die „vorgesehenen“ Leistungsempfänger, Peer-Organisationen und die allgemeine Öffentlichkeit auch das zugrunde liegende Führungsproblem als ein Wettbewerbsdilemma erkannt werden muss und man sich deshalb auf eine kollektive Selbstregulierung als Lösungsmechanismus konzentrieren sollte.

Resumen

El material publicado sobre la gestión de las organizaciones sin ánimo de lucro ha adoptado el concepto de “responsabilidad” para abordar desafíos urgentes relacionados con la probidad y la integridad de las ONG, y ha habido intentos en el material publicado de utilizar enfoques de gobernanza basados en la elección racional para resolverlos. Aunque los marcos de agente- principal existentes proporcionan percepciones importantes, se limitan al análisis de las relaciones financieras entre las ONG y los donantes. Contribuimos al material publicado desarrollando un enfoque de gobernanza basado en la elección racional para analizar todas las relaciones de las partes interesadas de las ONG. Aplicando el programa de investigación ordonómica, desvelamos dos problemas de interacción fundamentales: (a) el “dilema de la parte interesada” entre la ONG y un único titular de la responsabilidad como un dilema social de un lado y (b) el “dilema de la competencia” entre las ONG rivales como un dilema social de muchos lados. Mostramos que la mejora de la responsabilidad de las ONG en relación con los beneficiarios intencionados, las organizaciones de iguales y el público en general requiere también identificar el problema de gobernanza subyacente como un dilema de competencia centrándose en la autorregulación colectiva como una solución.

要約

非营利组织管理的著作已经将“问责性”概念纳入到与NGO廉洁和诚信相关的目标迫切的问题中,并且在著作中试图用基于合理选择的治理方法来解决这些问题。尽管现有的委托与代理框架提供了重要的见解,但只限于分析NGO与捐助人之间的财务关系。在制定基于委托与代理的完整治理方法,以便分析所有的NGO利益相关者关系方面,我们对著作做出了贡献。通过应用经济学研究计划,我们解开了两个基本的相互作用问题:(a)作为单边社会困境,NGO 和单一问责性持有者之间的“利益相关者困境”,以及(b)作为多边社会困境,竞争对手NGO之间的“竞争困境”。我们指出,要改善与“预期”受益人、同类组织和一般公众相关的NGO问责性,还要求将潜在治理问题识别为竞争性困境,此类困境注重将集体自我管理作为解决方案。

摘要

非営利団体の管理に関する文献では、「説明責任」の概念を採用して、NGO の誠実性と整合性に関わる緊急課題に対処している。文献では、問題を解決する合理的な選択ベースのガバナンスのアプローチを使用する試みがなされている。既存の本人対代理人の枠組みでは重要な洞察を提供しているが、NGOと資金提供者の金融関係の解析に限定されている。NGOのすべての利害関係者の関係を分析して、合理的な選択ベースの包括的なガバナンス・アプローチ開発の文献に貢献する。オードノミクスの研究プログラムを適用すると、2つの基本的な相互作用の問題が明らかになる。(a) 一方的な社会的なジレンマとしてNGO と単一責任者の間の「利害関係者のジレンマ」、 (b) 多面的な社会的ジレンマとしてNGOのライバルにおける「競争のジレンマ」である。「’意図」の受益者に関連して改善するNGOのアカウンタビリティを提示する。同等の同業者のピア組織および一般大衆はまた問題解決として、集合的な自己規制に焦点を当てて、競争ジレンマとして根本的なガバナンスの問題を特定する必要がある。

ملخص

إشتمل الأدب حول إدارة المنظمات الغير ربحية مفهوم “المساءلة” لإستهداف التحديات اامستعجلة المتعلقة بنزاهة المنظمات الغير حكومية (NGO) وأمانتها، وكانت هناك محاولات في الأدب لإستخدام نهج حاكم على أساس إختيارمنطقي لحلها. على الرغم من وجود أنظمة عامل رئيسي توفر معلومات هامة، إنها تقتصر على تحليل العلاقات المالية بين المنظمات الغير حكومية (NGOs) والجهات المانحة. نحن نساهم في الأدب في وضع نهج حاكم على أساس إختيار منطقي لتحليل كل العلاقات مع أصحاب المصالح من المنظمات الغير حكومية (NGOs). عن طريق تطبيق برنامج البحوث للترتيب ، نحن نفض مشكلتين تفاعل أساسية: (أ) “معضلة أصحاب المصلحة” بين المنظمات الغير حكومية (NGO) وحامل المساءلة واحد كمعضلة إجتماعية من جانب واحد و (ب) “معضلة منافسة” بين المنظمات الغير حكومية (NGO) المتنافسة كمعضلة إجتماعية متعددة الجوانب. نحن نبين أن تحسين مساءلة المنظمات الغير حكومية (NGO) فيما يتعلق بالمستفيدين المقصودين، منظمات الزملاء والجمهور أيضا” يتطلب تحديد المشكلة الحاكمة الأساسية بإعتبارها معضلة منافسة مع التركيز على التنظيم الذاتي الجماعي كحل.

Notes

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

The authors declare to comply with the Ethical Standards of VOLUNTAS Journal.

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Authors and Affiliations

  • Stefan Hielscher
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jan Winkin
    • 2
  • Angela Crack
    • 3
  • Ingo Pies
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Management, Centre for BusinessOrganisations & Society (CBOS), University of BathBathwick Hill BathUK
  2. 2.Chair of Economic EthicsMartin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (Germany)Halle (Saale)Germany
  3. 3.Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, School of Social, Historical and Literary StudiesUniversity of PortsmouthPortsmouthUK

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