Organizational Identity in Finnish Non-profit Development INGOs

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Title: Organizational Identity in Finnish Non-profit Development INGOs
Author: Sorila, Adam
Other contributor: Helsingin yliopisto, Valtiotieteellinen tiedekunta
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Sciences
Helsingfors universitet, Statsvetenskapliga fakulteten
Publisher: Helsingin yliopisto
Date: 2020
Language: eng
Thesis level: master's thesis
Degree program: Globaalin politiikan ja kommunikaation maisteriohjelma
Master's Programme in Global Politics and Communication
Magisterprogrammet i global politik och kommunikation
Specialisation: Governance, Organizations and Communication
Governance, Organizations and Communication
Governance, Organizations and Communication
Abstract: A professionalized climate and external expectations have caused great changes to many development organizations, including a degree of homogenization. Focusing on the identity of organizations is the best way to understand what the impact of change has been and how development organizations are able to hold on to core values and identity while innovating new ways of competitively reaching goals and milestones. The general metrics for success, profit, growth, efficiency, and productivity from within the management perspective follows a logic for which there is much theoretical and empirical evidence. However, the study of organizations and their well-being in terms of their identity in relation to their professionalism is a less researched area. Organizational identity theory can benefit from research to find how to draw direct logical outcomes which can be applied by the organizations in setting directions and goals for their future development. The main purpose for this research is to view how it can explain the differences in how or whether the core values have been affected by the professionalization of nonprofit INGO’s in Finland and how it has been adopted by development NGO’s. Is this theory validated by the phenomenological research data produced by this research? Where organizational identity theory as a framework doesn’t provide a quantitative basis by which to factor in all the variables that influence the social makeup and conceptual whole of an organization, it does provide a framework for the study of the phenomenon as a whole in a qualitative manner. It also gives conceptual paradigm for defining an identity, and how the different organizational features and attributes are related with the identity. The two INGOs chosen for this research, Fida International and Finn Church Aid, were similar enough to offer valid points of comparison by being faith based organizations, both of which have successfully grown into a significant actors in the field of development cooperation. These also offered interesting comparison of how their original organizational identities have lead into different development in organizational structures, global perspectives, and brands they wish to be known for. This kind of research can offer valuable information for NGOs in their future developmental goals. Empirical data on the organizations was gathered from different level staff as they perceived it. The hypothesis is that identity is not always aligned for the convenience of reaching the goals of the organization or even for competitive advantage, counterintuitively identity can be based on independent value decisions even if it doesn’t follow the logic of a professionalized management perspective. Results confirmed the original hypothesis in case of both the researched organizations. A strong organizational identity as is seen in Fida’s case necessitates constant re-alignment to the context, but it is a strength in safeguarding the value base and purpose of the organization; although sometimes at the expense of traditional markers of organizational success such as growth, efficiency and profit it provides a clear vision of what is worth pursuing in the long run. In the other case, the organizational identity of the FCA gives understanding of what the original purpose of the organization was, and even with big changes in its historical value base and consequent shifts in the definitions of development and its purpose, the organization has thrived to meet that challenge, the FCA has become the largest development actor in Finland in order to stay true to its identity.
Subject: Organizational Identity
International Non-governmental Organzation
Fida International
Finn Church Aid

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