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Co-exist, Colonize, or Combine?

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Professor Woody Powell, Stanford University Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society (with Carrie Oelberger, Achim Oberg, Karina Kloos, Valeska Korff). Academy of Management Presentation, Boston MA. …

Professor Woody Powell, Stanford University Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society (with Carrie Oelberger, Achim Oberg, Karina Kloos, Valeska Korff). Academy of Management Presentation, Boston MA. August 7, 2012.

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  • This approach identified a heterogeneous sample of 419 highly interconnected entities involved in nonprofit evaluation, which were then coded for a range of organizational features. We find diversity with respect to age, size, activity, revenue streams, audiences and, perhaps most interestingly for this panel, a wide range of institutional forms. Given that 14% of those involved in this conversation are blogs, magazines, projects, conferences, and other non-organizational forms, we find it appropriate to speak of entities, rather than organizations.

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  • 1. Co-exist, Colonize, or Combine?Accounting for patterns of discourse on nonprofit evaluationCarrie Oelberger, Achim Oberg, Karina Kloos, Valeska Korff, Woody Powell Academy of Management Cultural (Ac)counting: The rise of formal organization in social and cultural domains 7 August 2012, Boston, MA
  • 2. Co-exist, Colonize, or Combine?• Our study analyzes the current discussion of nonprofit evaluation with respect to contact between three different social worlds: – Civil Society – Science – Management• Each of the three worlds have played varying roles throughout the history and development of the current nonprofit sector
  • 3. Co-exist, Colonize, or Combine?• The confluence of financially-driven managerial criteria, combined with the progressive era’s lasting focus on measurable impact, has led to a growing instrumental orientation for the nonprofit sector.• At the same time, there is concern that what we measure will influence the shape of civil society.• Our study analyzes these conversations and asks whether scientific and managerial language is co-existing, colonizing or combining with the more traditional associational language of civil society.
  • 4. Three DistinctSocial Domains
  • 5. Civil Society Trust Compassion Social Change Justice ParticipatoryTransparency Commitment Three Distinct Social Domains
  • 6. Civil Society Trust Compassion Social Change Justice ParticipatoryTransparency Commitment Three Distinct Data Social DomainsMethods Assessment Survey Quantitative Framework Indicators Evaluation Science
  • 7. Civil Society Trust Compassion Management Social Change Justice Performance Participatory ImpactTransparency Commitment Three Distinct Efficiency Data Social Domains OutcomesMethods Assessment M&E Survey Lessons Learned Quantitative Framework Effectiveness Indicators Best practice Evaluation Science
  • 8. Research Questions Who is contributing what to nonprofit evaluation discourse?1. Who is participating in online discourse regarding nonprofit evaluation?2. What kind of discourse patterns form when different languages come into contact: co-existence, combination, or colonization?3. What organizational features influence an entity’s discourse patterns?
  • 9. Research Questions Who is contributing what to nonprofit evaluation discourse?1. Who is participating in online discourse regarding nonprofit evaluation?2. What kind of discourse patterns form when different languages come into contact: co-existence, combination, or colonization?3. What organizational features influence an entity’s discourse patterns?
  • 10. Website Discourse• Website discourse of entities talking about nonprofit evaluation – Open to the public, the information presented is not tailored to one particular audience – Purposeful self-representations
  • 11. Webcrawler Methodology• Snowball sampling approach: Websites are added based on number of incoming references by identified members of the relevant sample.• Inclusion/exclusion decision: Collective analysis of website content to appraise extent of contribution to non- profit evaluation discourse• Website “Scraping”: The entire text from each website is “scraped” into our off-line database to enable analysis of discourse patterns
  • 12. Research Questions Who is contributing what to nonprofit evaluation discourse?1. Who is participating in online discourse regarding nonprofit evaluation?2. What kind of discourse patterns form when different languages come into contact: co-existence, combination, or colonization?3. What organizational features influence an entity’s discourse patterns?
  • 13. Sample Characteristics• Our methodology produced 419 highly interconnected entities involved in nonprofit evaluation• Entities were then coded for core organizational features including: – Demography – Institutional Properties – Resources and Constituencies
  • 14. Sample CharacteristicsDemography • Age: 2 - over 200 years old • Size -> Scale: one person blogs - 250,000 employee global organizations • Size -> Scope: local, regional, national and internationalInstitutional Properties • Form: 56% nonprofits, 13% for-profits, 3% branches of state or national government, 14% transnational organizations, and 14% non-organizational forms • Activity: evaluation, funding, consulting, networking, media, advocacy, research, social servicesResources and Constituencies • Revenue Streams: foundation grants, government grants, corporate funding, individual donors, fee-for-services, membership fees, endowment, public equity market and taxes • Target Audiences: social service beneficiaries, donors, nonprofits, for-profits, (transnational) government and the public
  • 15. Research Questions Who is contributing what to nonprofit evaluation discourse?1. Who is participating in online discourse regarding nonprofit evaluation?2. What kind of discourse patterns form when different languages come into contact: co- existence, combination, or colonization?3. What organizational features influence an entity’s discourse patterns?
  • 16. Co-exist• Do entities co-exist in this field of nonprofit evaluation, but retain distinctly separate discourse – associational, scientific, or managerial – about how to approach nonprofit evaluation? – Similar to the “salad bowl” metaphor of immigration, where individuals remain monolingual with their traditional language.
  • 17. Combine• Do we observe a combination of vocabularies and the emergence of some sort of shared language around nonprofit evaluation? – Similar to the “melting pot” story of immigration, where we would find entities drawing equally on a combination of all of three languages, dissolving the boundaries that previously existed.
  • 18. Colonize• Has science or management colonized the nonprofit evaluation debate and crowded out the less powerful domain of civil society and its related associational discourse? – Similar to the classic story whereby immigrants “colonize” indigenous languages.
  • 19. Analyzing Discourse: Developing VocabularyKeywords are “significant, indicative words in certain forms of thought” thatmake up a distinctive, domain-specific vocabulary (Williams 1969: 14)Iterative process of identifying keywords to develop a vocabulary of nonprofit evaluation: • Mined the discourse on the websites and consulted experts • Created word clusters that resulted in three different social domains • Fleshed out clusters based on extant knowledge of domain • Co-occurrence analysis to affirm validity of clusters Process resulted in 196 terms categorized in 3 clusters
  • 20. Analyzing Discourse: Clustering Terms196 terms categorized into the following 3 clusters: Social Domain Discourse Civil Society Associational Scientific Research Scientific Management: Managerial Business & Government
  • 21. Analyzing Discourse: Counting KeywordsExamined each website to calculate the relativepercentage of each of the three languages:associational, scientific, and managerial • For example, if there were: – 50 occurrences of managerial terms – 30 occurrences of scientific terms – 20 occurrences of associational terms • The entity would be 50% managerial, 30% scientific, and 20% associational
  • 22. Relative language use thesroinetwork.org swtgroup.net cerise-microfinance.org mullagofoundation.org efqm.org corostrandberg.com ladb.org sphereproject.org wdi.umich.edu usaid.org fbheron.org rainforest-alliance.org organizationalresearch.com eandco.org compasspoint.org arnova.org iisd.org robinhood.org broadfoundation.org joycefnd.org gistfunders.org gmfus.org americanprogress.org hfpg.org alliance1.org aecf.org seechangeevaluation.com ncvo-vol.org.ukAll entities involved in nonprofit evaluation nonprofitquarterly.org unstats.un.org onphilanthropy.com gatesfoundation.org worldofgood.org usip.org cofinteract.org africagrantmakers.org unwomen.org komen.org sunlightfoundation.com 350.Org cafonline.org Observed Distribution of Discourse
  • 23. Relative language use thesroinetwork.org swtgroup.net cerise-microfinance.org mullagofoundation.org efqm.org corostrandberg.com ladb.org sphereproject.org wdi.umich.edu usaid.org fbheron.org rainforest-alliance.org organizationalresearch.com eandco.org compasspoint.org arnova.org iisd.org robinhood.org broadfoundation.org joycefnd.org gistfunders.org gmfus.org americanprogress.org hfpg.org alliance1.org aecf.org seechangeevaluation.com ncvo-vol.org.ukAll entities involved in nonprofit evaluation nonprofitquarterly.org unstats.un.org onphilanthropy.com gatesfoundation.org worldofgood.org usip.org cofinteract.org africagrantmakers.org unwomen.org komen.org sunlightfoundation.com 350.Org cafonline.org Does a coherent, shared language exist?
  • 24. Does a coherent, shared language exist?Interlanguage (Galison 1997)• pidgins and creoles that emerge in the interstices between social domains• facilitates local communication across social and linguistic boundaries• enables coordination of action across place, time and context
  • 25. Does a coherent, shared language exist?To investigate whether a coherent interlanguage exists,we examined whether there are keywords that bothoccur:• frequently across the majority of entity websites• in combination with keywords from the other two “parent” languages This identified 24 (out of 196) terms that represent an interlanguage on nonprofit evaluation.
  • 26. Operationalizing Interlanguage• Nonprofit evaluation interlanguage spans the Methods Impact Assessment boundaries between the Accountability Outcomes Lessons learned domains of civil Quantitative Evaluation Effectiveness Performance society, scientific Framework Transparency 38% What works Best practice 39% research, and management Indicators Certification Survey• Approximate 2:1 ratio Trust Evidence Social change implies that there is slight Commitment Participatory colonization by managerial Transparency 23% and scientific languages
  • 27. Including our Interlangauge in the analysis• These 24 keywords become our interlanguage Methods Impact Assessment Outcomes Accountability Lessons learned• If we remove them from their Quantitative Effectiveness Evaluation Performance “parent language” and create Framework Transparency What works Best practice a fourth language cluster an Indicators Certification interesting picture emerges Survey Trust Evidence Social change Commitment Participatory Transparency
  • 28. Observed Distribution of InterlanguageRelative language use Entirety of entities involved in nonprofit evaluation
  • 29. Conclusion• A diverse array of entities discuss nonprofit evaluation• Entities are multi-lingual, combining three distinct “parent” languages – Furthermore, there is extensive use of a coherent interlanguage – Managerial and scientific terms outnumber associational in interlanguage by a factor of 2:1 – Associational terms remain highly relevant, if less standardized, across all entities
  • 30. Thank You! Gerhard Richter Bach (4) 1992 300 cm x 300 cm Oil on canvas Catalogue Raisonné: 788