From Nonprofit Diversity to Organizational Multifunctionality: A Systems-Theoretical Proposal

Administration and Society, Forthcoming

17 Pages Posted: 20 Jul 2017 Last revised: 22 Jul 2017

See all articles by Matthias Georg Will

Matthias Georg Will

Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg - Faculty of Economics and Business Administration

Steffen Roth

La Rochelle Business School; University of Turku

Vladislav L. Valentinov

Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Transition Economies (IAMO)

Date Written: July 17, 2017

Abstract

The remarkable feature of the nonprofit sector is its astonishing diversity. This feature gets short shrift in the traditional market or governmental failure theories of the nonprofit sector. Drawing on Niklas Luhmann’s concept of functional differentiation, we demonstrate that these theories are implicitly economy- and politics-biased. In seeking to overcome these biases, we show that nonprofits and NGOs are better understood as those varieties of organizations whose primary focus is on function systems other than the economy and politics. We summarize this argument in the concept of organizational multifunctionality which turns out to be likewise applicable to the for-profit sector.

Keywords: nonprofit organization, nongovernmental organization, Niklas Luhmann, functional differentiation, diversity

JEL Classification: A14, L30, L31, Z13

Suggested Citation

Will, Matthias Georg and Roth, Steffen and Valentinov, Vladislav L., From Nonprofit Diversity to Organizational Multifunctionality: A Systems-Theoretical Proposal (July 17, 2017). Administration and Society, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3003968

Matthias Georg Will

Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg - Faculty of Economics and Business Administration ( email )

Germany

Steffen Roth (Contact Author)

La Rochelle Business School ( email )

102 rue de Coureilles
Les Minimes
La Rochelle, 17024
France

University of Turku ( email )

Assistentinkatu 7
Turku, 20014
Finland

Vladislav L. Valentinov

Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Transition Economies (IAMO) ( email )

Theodor-Lieser-Str.2
Halle, 06120
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.iamo.de

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