Non-Governmental and Not-for-Profit Organizational Effectiveness: A Structured Literature Review
Jesse D. Lecy
Maxwell School of Syracuse University; Georgia State University - Andrew Young School of Policy Studies
Hans Peter Schmitz
University of San Diego
affiliation not provided to SSRN
September 16, 2010
Voluntas: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations 23 (2), 434-457 (2012).
While the issue of NGO/NPO effectiveness remains a prominent topic for scholars and practitioners, the literature on this topic is increasingly fragmented along disciplinary lines. We address this issue by presenting a comprehensive and interdisciplinary review of the literature on NGO and NPO effectiveness using citation analysis. In order to uncover communalities across disciplines concerned with questions of NPO/NGO effectiveness, we deploy a structured literature review using snowball sampling within citation networks. This approach limits author biases, fosters an interdisciplinary perspective, and adds a different methodological approach to conventional content-based literature reviews. Our review uncovers three trends: (1) there is broad scholarly consensus that uni-dimensional measures of effectiveness are not useful – even though such measures are commonly used by NGO/NPO rating agencies; (2) the scholarship on NGO/NPO effectiveness is dominated by conceptual works, while empirical studies remain rare; (3) a consensus on how to operationalize effectiveness remains elusive. These results suggest that progress in our understanding of NGO/NPO effectiveness requires crossing disciplinary divides, adding more empirical analyses, and increasing efforts to develop shared categories and methodologies.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 37
Keywords: non-for-profit organizations, non-governmental organizations, structured literature review
Date posted: August 29, 2011 ; Last revised: June 16, 2012