Featured Working Papers


Melissa M. Stone, University of Minnesota, 2011 RGK-ARNOVA President’s Award for Nonprofit Research
This paper presents results from a research study on charter school governance in Minnesota, the first state to enact charter school legislation in 1991.  The paper examines the effects of the political and institutional environments on charter school governance, pays particular attention to how charter school boards navigate their legally mandated hybrid status, and analyzes the effects of hybridity on governance practices and school performance. The paper makes theoretical and empirical contributions to our understanding of governance in strong institutional environments and the implications of hybridity for governance practices.  
Download Paper


Eve Garrow, University of Michigan, 2010 RGK-ARNOVA President’s Award for Nonprofit Research
By virtue of their hybrid identity as both nonprofit human service organizations and commercial businesses, work integration social enterprises (WISEs) are subject to institutional pluralism, creating tensions between mission and market. These tensions are embodied in the dual role of clients, who are constituted as both service recipients and instruments of production.  Drawing linkages between institutional logics and political economy perspectives, this paper develops and tests a theoretical model that seeks to explain the conditions under which clients are commodified. Comparative analysis of a theoretical sample of WISEs suggests that relative embeddedness across human service and business fields, the distribution of power across social service and production units, and the extent to which the service unit is closely coupled to the production unit combine to determine how clients are constructed and treated in the organization.   
Download Paper


The Professor Is In: Classroom Techniques That Capture Critical Issues in Volunteer Management

by Dr. Sarah Jane Rehnborg

Dr. Sarah Jane Rehnborg published a two-part feature article focused on classroom techniques for teaching critical issues in volunteer management in the January and April 2013 editions of e-Volunteerism, an online journal for volunteer leaders. Part 1 focused on using role plays, case studies, and current events to illustrate core concepts for students who lack real-life experience in volunteerism and the nonprofit world. Part 2 explored factors to consider in designing internship experiences and techniques for teaching critical thinking that help students learn and question core assumptions within the field.

Working Papers

Intersectoral Crossings: From Activists to Civil Servants

Dr. Alejandro Natal
This paper examines the life-work histories of twenty-four civil society activists that crossed the boundary of the third sector into the government in Mexico (2000-2006). The motivation of the study was to document and analyse the experiences of these ?crossovers?, since, initial anecdotal evidence suggested that many of these individuals were working from the inside of government to promote progressive reforms. However, the data collected suggests a different picture. It indicates that (a) some of these people were ill-prepared in terms of their strategy for working within government, both in terms of understanding how things worked inside government, and in having no clear mandate from their constituencies or supporters; (b) some also lacked the necessary skills to negotiate and build agendas and support with other actors within government to shape the policy process once inside; (c) that this made them highly vulnerable to ?capture? or immobilisation by interest groups once inside; and (d) that their reputations and relationships with the broader third sector were damaged as a result of their entry into government. By contrast, the evidence suggests that civil society strategies to shape the policy process from outside the government had been more successful in bringing about progressive social change. The paper concludes with reflection on (a) lessons for theorizing about civil society and policy change in Mexico and (b) some reflections about civil society and government relationship.

Art Investment Collections: A New Model for Museum Finance?

Erica Coslor, 2009 Summer Fellow - University of Chicago
This article examines the conflicting views about whether to consider artwork as a financial asset and suggests a modified museum finance strategy that would not raise stakeholder concerns about selling art in the permanent collection. By encouraging museums to begin a separate investment collection, artworks may ethically be sold to generate operating or there expenses. This strategy brings up issues of governance, accountability, and conflicts of interest, but if done correctly, it could leverage the art market access of museums to create a hedge for other types of endowment assets, while still upholding museum association guidance that works in a museum’s permanent collection are never to be sold in order to fund operating expenses.

Assessing the Structure of Organizational Fields: Multilevel Latent Class Analysis as a Tool for Institutional Analysis

Sondra N Barringer, 2009 Summer Fellow - University of Arizona
Within organizational research a question researchers are often interested in is the “why” question. A question that is not focused on as frequently is the how question. I argue in this paper that as researchers we need to pay more attention to how organizations are behaving within organizational fields before we begin to answer the why questions and in order to do this researchers need to expand their methodological tool kits. This analysis examines how institutions within the field of higher education have responded to the changing environmental conditions. Using multilevel latent class analysis I show that there are a number of distinct strategies that the organizations within this field are pursing as well as distinct deviations between the behavior of public and nonprofit institutions. This analysis of the changes occurring in the field of higher education demonstrates the ability of MLCA to break the organizational field down into more manageable units, which allows for a deeper understanding of the ways in which these fields are changing over time. MLCA makes organizational fields more manageable both empirically and conceptually resulting in a more accurate assessment of the critical dynamics within the organizational fields.

Getting to Know You: Awareness and Confidence in the Nonprofit Sector

Lindsey M. McDougle, 2009 Summer Fellow - University of San Diego
The purpose of this article is to determine the characteristics of those who have an awareness of nonprofit organizations, and to understand the relative significance of awareness and individual characteristics in influencing public confidence in the performance of nonprofits. Using data from a survey of public attitudes toward nonprofits in Southern California, this study examines the relationship between sociodemographic and contextual characteristics to public awareness of nonprofit organizations and public confidence in two areas of nonprofit performance: effectiveness and efficiency.

Download Paper

The Young and the Restless: Generation Y in the Nonprofit Workforce

Jasmine McGinnis, 2009 Summer Fellow - Georgia State University and Georgia Institute of Technology
The ability of nonprofit organizations to attract and retain the next generation of its workforce will play an integral role in the growth and vitality of the sector. Management literature provides a number of suggestions to nonprofit managers of how to enhance non-compensation related job characteristics in order to attract and retain a young workforce. Yet, this literature ignores the fact survey research indicates that Generation Y employees value compensation and non-compensation related characteristics differently than previous generations. Before management changes are proposed and implemented by nonprofit managers, we must first understand how the nonprofit sector compensates Generation Y employees. This study enhances our understanding of wage differentials by using data from the 2005 American Community Survey to examine a sample of 36,000 young, educated employees both within and across nonprofit, mixed and for profit industries. My findings indicate that the wage equity experienced by minorities and females found in previous research, is not consistent when comparing nonprofit and mixed industries. Additionally, one of the most notable findings (not discussed in previous research, but likely relevant to this sample) is the difference in earnings of employees with advanced degrees (Masters Degree and beyond). Employers in for profit industries are better compensating young employees who hold advanced degrees.