Beyond Cooperation and Competition: NGO-NGO Interactions in Global Politics

International Research Workshop

Duisburg, Germany, October 26-28, 2020

Conveners: Professor Sigrid Quack (University of Duisburg-Essen), Associate Professor Maryam Zarnegar Deloffre (University of Duisburg-Essen and George Washington University)

Call for Papers (short version)

In the past few decades, the number, influence, and impact of transnational non-governmental organizations (NGOs) — defined as private non-profit organizations that operate independently from the government with a global mission to provide social and public goods in several countries — has significantly increased. These organizations serve critical roles in the provision of public goods and services, in advocacy and activism, and in standard-setting and governance. Often, they do so not on their own, but through interactions with other transnational NGOs.

While the scholarly literature has begun to examine NGO-NGO interactions, it often considers NGOs as either cooperative or competitive and has largely focused on the outcomes of these interactions for global policy, with cooperation being considered more desirable and effective than competition. This research often treats transnational NGOs as unitary actors and neglects the variety of interactions beyond cooperation and competition in which their different organizational units might engage. The more general question of why and how NGOs as complex organizations cooperate or relate in other ways to each other and how such interactions between NGOs unfold as a process over time has received much less attention in the literature. There is also a need to better understand what factors shape the emergence and unfolding of a variety of interactions between transnational NGOs.

With this workshop, we therefore seek to expand scholarly knowledge about NGO-NGO interactions in global politics by posing two broad research questions: What is the range of possible interactions between transnational NGOS?  Why and how do these interactions occur and unfold over time?

We invite scholars to examine interactions between transnational NGOs beyond cooperation and competition, conceptualizing them as situated on a continuum including less well researched forms of interaction such as co-optation, co-opetition and conflict. We also suggest relaxing the assumption that NGOs are unitary actors and instead ask for opening the ‘black box’ of organizations to consider how interactions between transnational NGOs may occur between individual staff, departments, or local sites of different organizations.

We especially welcome papers that theoretically and empirically examine interactions between transnational NGOs by investigating

  • how NGO-NGO interactions might result from a shared desire to achieve a goal or solve a problem that otherwise would go beyond their individual organizational capacities.
  • how resource dependence or independence shapes NGO-NGO interactions.
  • how concerns for legitimacy and particularly visibility, recognition and status impact the propensity for NGOs to interact with one another.
  • how a multi-scalar institutional context can affect NGO-NGO interactions particularly through three mechanisms: shared transnational institutional opportunity structures, institutionally-determined organizational homophily between NGOs and national contexts.
  • how inter-personal networks and overlapping biographies influence NGO-NGO interactions.

Our objective in these workshops is to foster conversation towards work on an edited journal or book volume on NGO-NGO interactions.

Please submit proposals to website by 31 March 2020 (extended: by 10 April). Accepted participants will be notified in April 2020.

For more details on the submission procedures see full version of the abstract (full text, right column).

CfP Application Form

Beyond Cooperation and Competition: NGO-NGO Interactions in Global Politics

no more than 300 words

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