EconPapers    
Economics at your fingertips  
 

Nonprofit organizations, institutional economics, and systems thinking

Vladislav Valentinov, Stefan Hielscher and Ingo Pies

Economic Systems, 2015, vol. 39, issue 3, 491-501

Abstract: The present paper applies the logic of John Kenneth Gailbraith's institutional economics analysis of corporate power to inquiring into the societal role of the nonprofit sector. Building on Galbraith's insight that corporations cause subtle but pervasive societal imbalances, the paper locates the role of nonprofit organizations in compensating for these imbalances, thus showing corporations and nonprofit organizations to be mutually complementary rather than antagonistic actors. This argument is supported by Niklas Luhmann's vision of the precarious relationship between the complexity and sustainability of social systems as well as by Kenneth Boulding's analysis of the farmer and labor movement. Luhmann's and Boulding's perspectives show profit-seeking corporations to be social systems developing high technological complexity at the cost of sacrificing their societal sustainability, while the improvement of the latter constitutes the rationale of many nonprofit organizations. The same systems-theoretic logic suggests, however, that nonprofit organizations may tend to underestimate the technological complexity of implementing their mission-related activities, thereby undermining their own effectiveness.

Keywords: Nonprofit organizations; John Kenneth Galbraith; Countervailing power; Niklas Luhmann (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2015
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (13) Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link)
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0939362515000278
Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

Related works:
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:eee:ecosys:v:39:y:2015:i:3:p:491-501

Access Statistics for this article

Economic Systems is currently edited by R. Frensch

More articles in Economic Systems from Elsevier Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Dana Niculescu ().

 
Page updated 2019-10-24
Handle: RePEc:eee:ecosys:v:39:y:2015:i:3:p:491-501