Number of Downlaods: 13
Published Date: Apr 1, 2000
Adil Najam, SDPI
All over the world, we see trends of increasing interaction between governments and the Third Sector. Is this the ‘start of a beautiful friendship’ or are they already ‘too close for comfort’? This paper argues that the nature of these complex relationships is poorly understood and often simplified. It proposes a 4C framework based on institutional interests and preferences for policy ‘ends’ and ‘means’–cooperation in the case of similar ends and similar means; confrontation in the case of dissimilar ends and dissimilar means; coplementarity in the case of similar ends but dissimilar means; and co-optation in the case of dissimilar ends but similar means.
Note: At various points during their development, the ideas in this paper have been presented at a number of international research meetings and have benefited from the vigorous review and comments of a large number of colleagues studying the Third Sector in different parts of the world. While it is difficult to acknowledge all, the author is particularly grateful to Julie Fisher, Peter Dobkin Hall, Margaret Harris, David Lewis, Syed Ayub Qutub, and Dennis Young for valuable insights that have significantly influenced the evolution of this paper.
ADIL NAJAM is assistant professor in the Department of International Relations and the Center for Energy and Environmental Studies at Boston University. His Third Sector connections include serving on the Board of Governors of the Pakistan Institute for Environment-Development Action Research (PIEDAR) and as a Visiting Fellow at the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), both in Pakistan.
THE KING: Venerable Nagasena, will you converse with me?
NAGASENA: If your Majesty will speak with me as wise men converse, I will; but if your Majesty speaks with me as kings converse, I will not.
THE KING: How then converse the wise, venerable Nagasena?
NAGASENA: The wise do not get angry when they are driven into a corner; kings do.
— MILLINDAPANHA (Second-century colloquy)
This paper seeks to better understand the nature of relationships between governmental and nongovernmental organizations. Although the term nongovernmental organization (NGO) is often used in reference to entities working in–or with–developing countries, we will use it here as a synonym for that broad spectrum of organizations which is variously referred to as the nonprofit, voluntary, independent, charitable, people’s, philanthropic, associational, or third sector. We do not confine our analysis to only developing countries and the claims made in this paper would apply equally to industrialized societies. The choice of the term ‘nongovernmental’ is partially a matter of convenience–it seems the intuitively obvious term for considering the relations of this sector with the government sector. This choice also reflects the rising international stock of this particular alias of the sector.
This paper is motivated by, and responds to, two broad findings of the larger literature on the subject. The first highlights a striking trend towards increased interaction between nongovernmental and governmental entities all over the world (Smith and Lipsky, 1993; Salamon and Anheier, 1996; Kumar, 1997; Fisher, 1998; Najam, 1999; Smillie and Helmich, 1999). The second identifies a lack of conceptual understanding of these relations and the need to refine our understanding in this area (Salamon, 1987; Smillie and Helmich, 1993; Hulme and Edwards, 1997; Coston, 1998; Fisher 1995; Waddell, 1998; Young, 1999). The essay posits a conceptual framework for understanding the NGO-government relationships. It framework offered is global, and therefore simple, and argues that the nature of these interactions is best explained through the complex lens of strategic institutional interests of both governments and NGOs rather that determined solely by isolated factors such as nature of government (democratic or authoritarian), state of development (advanced industrialized or agrarian), economic ideology (liberal market economy or controlled economy), etc.