How Responsible Are Nonprofits? Investigating the Relation Between Nonprofits and Their Stakeholders

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 10:45-12:15
Location: Seminar 31 (Juridicum)
RC17 Sociology of Organization (host committee)

Language: English

Nonprofits are a curious breed of organizations. They are private in nature and their working mechanisms vary greatly – from purely voluntary to highly entrepreneurial. Quite clearly, nonprofits differ from market and public organizations while, at the same time exhibiting characteristics of both sectors. Hence, it does not come as a surprise that their hybrid character has spurred extensive research on the different logics and structural arrangements that accompany their daily work.

In our session we focus on one specific aspect of nonprofit work: the plurality of stakeholders nonprofits face and have to cope with. As intermediaries between the world of commerce, civil society, the state, and other areas of society, nonprofits have developed a particular sense of responsibility towards their stakeholders. On the one hand, stakeholders are at the heart of the organization’s mission. On the other hand, issues of accountability, transparency and trust have become a somewhat salient and controversially discussed issue in the third sector. 
In this session, we call for papers which contribute to the sociology of third-sector organizations by:

  • providing detailed empirical accounts that describe and interpret, or explain, the relationship between these organizations and their stakeholders;
  • depicting boundary-spanning mechanisms operating in nonprofit organizations;
  • describing how globalization processes challenge the relationship between nonprofits and their stakeholders;
  • addressing the relevance of related literature so as to enable theorization, in particular on relational concepts such as accountability, responsibility and trust;
  • discussing existing accounts of nonprofit accountability and transparency.
Session Organizers:
Kathia SERRANO-VELARDE, Heidelberg University, Germany, Cristina BESIO, Helmut Schmidt University Hamburg, Germany and Uli MEYER, Technical University of Berlin, Germany
Cultural Foundations and Luxury Brands: The Case of Brand Philanthropy
Marta HERRERO, University of Sheffield, United Kingdom
Mission Impossible? Meeting Donor Demands and Beneficiary Needs in Nongovernmental Humanitarian Aid Projects
Liesbet HEYSE, University of Groningen, Netherlands; Fernando NIETO MORALES, El Colegio de México, Mexico
Endangered Legitimacy: Survival Strategies of Russian Non-Governmental Organizations Under the “Foreign Agents” Law
Evelyn MOSER, University of Bonn, Forum Internationale Wissenschaft, Germany; Anna SKRIPCHENKO, University of Bonn, Germany
Finnish National Level Youth Organizations and Legitimacy
Hanna LAITINEN, Humak University of Applied Sciences / University of Jyvaskyla, Finland
Nonprofit Organizations of Culture in Contemporary Brazil: Ambiguous Relations with the State and Adjacency to Founding Companies
Miqueli MICHETTI, Fundacao Getulio Vargas - Escola de Administracao de Empresas de Sao Paulo - FGV, Brazil
The Transparency of Philanthropic Foundations
Clemens STRIEBING, Heidelberg University, Germany; Sarah FORSTER, Hertie School of Governance, Germany