NGO Governance and Management


The emergence of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) as formal institutions has been a relatively recent phenomenon. This course examines the organizational features, actor/stakeholder relationships, and the major topics of engagement contemporary NGOs confront. It further draws upon relevant theoretical work and practicum to critically assess whether certain types of NGOs are more successful in negotiating the local and global institutional environments; as well as, the management challenges facing NGOs, and the tools they can use in response to adapt.

Lectures and Readings

1. Introduction [video] [podcast] [handout]

  • Barnett, M. and Finnemore, M. (1999) “The Politics, Power, and Pathologies of International Organizations”, International Organization 53(4): 699-732.

2. Global Civil Society [video] [podcast] [handout]

  • Kaldor, M. (2003) “The Idea of Global Civil Society”, International Affairs 79(3): 583-593.

  • Anderson, K. and Rieff, D. (2005) “Global Civil Society: A Sceptical View”, in H. Anheier, M. Glasius and M. Kaldor (eds.) Global Civil Society 2004/5. London: Sage.

  • Hasmath, R. and Hsu, J. (2021) “Rethinking Global Civil Society in an Era of a Rising China”, The China Review 21(3). [audio paper: video and podcast] [public talk: podcast]

  • Reimann, K.D. (2006) “A View from the Top: International Politics, Norms and the Worldwide Growth of NGOs”, International Studies Quarterly 50(1): 45-68.

  • Muetzelfeldt, M. and Smith, G. (2002) “Civil Society and Global Governance: The Possibilities for Global Citizenship”, Citizenship Studies 6(1): 55-75.

3. Civil Society and the Nation State [video] [podcast] [handout]

4. Government-NGO Relationships [video] [podcast] [handout]

5. Accountability and Legitimacy [video] [podcast] [handout]

6. Advocacy Strategies [video] [podcast] [handout]

  • Keck, M.E. and Sikkink, K. (1999) “Transnational Advocacy Networks in International and Regional Politics”, International Social Science 51(159): 89-101.

  • Carpenter, R.C. (2007) “Setting the Advocacy Agenda: Theorizing Issue Emergence and Nonemergence in Transnational Advocacy Networks”, International Studies Quarterly 51: 99-120.

  • Strange, M. (2011) “‘Act Now and Sign Our Joint Statement!’”, Media, Culture and Society 33(8): 1236-1253.

  • Tam, J. and Hasmath, R. (2015) “Navigating Uncertainty: The Survival Strategies of Religious NGOs in China”, Journal of Civil Society 11(3): 282-299. [audio paper: video and podcast]

7. Fundraising [video] [podcast] [handout]

  • Cooley, A. and Ron, J. (2002) “The NGO Scramble: Organizational Insecurity and the Political Economy of Transnational Action”, International Security 27(1): 5-39.

  • Bebbington, A. (2005) “Donor-NGO Relations and Representations of Livelihood in Nongovernmental Aid Chains”, World Development 33(6): 937-950.

  • Hildebrandt, T. (2015) “‘From NGO to Enterprise: The Political Economy of Activist Adaptation in China’”, pp. 123-138 in R. Hasmath and J. Hsu (eds.) NGO Governance and Management in China. New York and Oxford: Routledge. [public talk: video]

8. Human Rights [video] [podcast] [handout]

  • Merry, S.E. (2006) “Transnational Human Rights and Local Activism: Mapping the Middle”, American Anthropologist 108(1): 38-51.

  • Hafner-Burton, E. (2008) “Sticks and Stones: Naming and Shaming – the Human Rights Enforcement Problem”, International Organization 62: 689-716.

  • Hasmath, R. and Hsu, J. (2007) “Big Business, NGOs and Labor Standards in Developing Nations: A Critical Reflection”, Asian Journal of Social Policy 3(1): 1-15. [audio paper: video and podcast]

9. Humanitarianism [video] [podcast] [handout]

  • Barnett, M. (2005) “Humanitarianism Transformed”, Perspectives on Politics 3(4): 723-40.

  • Seybolt, T.B. (1996) “The Myth of Neutrality”, Peace Review 8(4): 521-528.

  • Price, R. (1998) “Reversing the Gun Sights: Transnational Civil Society Targets Land Mines”, International Organization 52(3): 613-644.

  • Pottier, J. (1996) “Relief and Repatriation: Views by Rwandan Refugees; Lessons for Humanitarian Aid Workers”, African Affairs 95: 403-429.

10. The Environment [video] [podcast] [handout]

  • Wapner, P. (2002) “Horizontal Politics: Transnational Environmental Activism and Global Cultural Change”, Global Environmental Politics 2(2): 37-63.

  • Dauvergne, P. and Lister, J. (2012) “Big Brand Sustainability: Governance Prospects and Environmental Limits”, Global Environmental Change 22(1): 36-45.