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.  
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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.   
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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

Drawing Lines, Spanning Boundaries: Managerial Perceptions of Innovation Value in Public and Nonprofit Organizations

John C. Ronquillo, 2009 Summer Fellos - The University of Georgia
Despite the large and varied selection of literature on innovation, questions about the diverse organizational aspects of innovation and the differences of innovation in public and nonprofit organizations still remain. This study compares public and nonprofit organizations on their perceived innovativeness and analyzes the environmental factors and organizational practices that are presumably related to innovation. This paper uses survey data from the National Administrative Studies Project III (NASP-III) that surveyed managers in public and nonprofit organizations in Georgia and Illinois over a three wave, 10-month span, on a variety of organizational topics. Using multinomial logistic regression, the findings show that variables such as flexibility, the ability to serve the public interest, and incentives are positively related to innovation in both public and nonprofit organizations. Variables such as employee and managerial risk aversion, and red tape negatively affect innovation. Other variables, including job security, organizational pride and performance-based promotion vary by sector.

Soldiers to Citizens: The Link between Military Service and Volunteering

Rebecca Nesbit, 2008 Summer Fellow - University of North Carolina—Charlotte and David A. Reingold - Indiana University
Research has shown that military service is linked with some forms of political engagement, such as voting, especially for minorities. In this paper, we explore the relationship between military service and another measure of civic engagement— volunteering. Military service can help to overcome barriers to volunteering by helping to socialize people with a norm of civic responsibility, by providing social resources and skills that compensate for the lack of personal resources, and by making people aware of opportunities to volunteer and “asking” them to do so. The data used to explore this research question are from the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey (CPS) 2005 September supplement on volunteering. We find that military service is positively related to volunteering among blacks and Hispanics. Married veterans and veterans over the age of 65 are more likely to volunteer than nonveterans.

The Safety Net as a Network

Helen K. Liu, 2008 Summer Fellow - Indiana University and David A. Reingold - Indiana University
The lack of a coherent understanding of what is meant by the American safety net made it difficult to have a meaningful discourse on the current condition. This paper proposes an alternative formulation of the social safety net based in network theory to overcome the shortcomings of the previous literature. The first part of the paper describes this approach, attempting to develop an alternative understanding of the safety net grounded in the actions of anti-poverty actors. Next is a list of propositions for measuring five dimensions of a safety net: the frame, structure, positions, influences, and the context. Three policy implications are derived from this new paradigm. First, shifting the level of analysis to network level allows policy makers to broaden the scope of the modern social safety net. Second, quantifying the interaction among actors reveals interdependency, which in turn redefines the power and influence of each actor within the network. Finally, the modern safety net could demonstrate a core-periphery structure. It calls for a new way of thinking about resource distribution and decision making channels of such unique structure.

Global Governance and the Structuring of Global Civil Society: the Field of Transnational Advocacy and the WTO

Kristen Hopewell, 2008 Summer Fellow - University of Michigan
In the paper, I draw on the case of the WTO to argue that we need to be more attentive to the ways in which institutions of global governance structure global civil society. Looking at the WTO, I contend that the nature of the policy-making environment results in very specific opportunities and constraints for transnational advocacy organizations seeking to influence the global trading system. I present evidence that suggests that transnational advocacy organizations are being transformed by and from within the context in which they operate. Specifically, important changes are taking place in these organizations’ strategies and in how they formulate their critiques, as they adapt and respond to the circumstances they face in engaging in advocacy at the supra-national level and in the particular context of the WTO. These shifts center primarily around issues of expertise and discourse. I argue that these represent significant changes in both the style and substance of protest, with important implications for the dynamics of civil society contestation surrounding the WTO and the scope of debate in the global public sphere over the direction and governance of globalization. Examining the engagement of transnational advocacy organizations with the WTO can therefore not only improve our understanding of the dynamics of the global justice movement but also prompt us to rethink the way we conceptualize global civil society.

A New Analysis of Corporate Social Responsibility

Evgeny Firsov, 2008 Summer Fellow - Harvard University
To summarize the substantive argument of the paper, corporations participate in the third sector because of the benefits they can reap. In particular, in many cases corporations are in a good position to (partially) correct the third sector’s failure to bring in financial resources (coming from individuals caring about non-profit missions), increase the accountability and thus efficiency of the processes of production in the NPOs, and finally make them more effective. The key advantages of corporations here is their ability to introduce the elements of competition and control into the third sector, simultaneously not changing its voluntary and non-profit nature. The corporations can do all of that not for free (and I believe they do that not for free!). However, as oftentimes happens in the social sciences the mechanisms responsible for such positive outcomes work in the limited set of cases.