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?
This is the first in a series of authors’ and practitioner workshops organized by the Käte Hamburger Kolleg/ Centre for Global Cooperation Research at the University of Duisburg-Essen, and the George Washington University.
Outcomes of the workshop will be presented in a policy paper in the KHK/GCR21 Research Paper Series with policy recommendations on NGO-NGO cooperation and an edited journal or book volume on NGO-NGO interaction.