Political Advocacy by Nonprofit Organizations: A Strategic Management Explanation
Public Performance and Management Review 32(4): 514-536
Posted: 12 Dec 2012
Date Written: 2009
Nonprofit organizations serve as a voice for their constituent publics in the political arena, even though advocacy practices remain outside their core mission. Some nonprofits embrace their advocacy roles and engage in these activities frequently, while others choose to avoid these activities altogether. What organizational capacities enable nonprofits to pursue an advocacy agenda? Drawing on theoretical perspectives in organizational behavior, public management, and political science, we propose a strategic management explanation of nonprofit advocacy. Using survey data from nonprofit organizations in Michigan, we test an empirical model in which factors of organizational learning, structure, resource dependence, and resource competitiveness contribute to nonprofits' advocacy activities. Findings suggest that experience with collaborative networking, productive exchange relations with funding principals, representation of lobbying skills at the managerial level, dependence on government resources, and competition in the resource environment all shape nonprofits' advocacy practices in important ways. These findings have important implications for both theory and practice of nonprofit management.
Keywords: strategic management, nonprofit, collaboration, networking, advocacy
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