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NGOs and Corporations - Literature review Example

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Review NGOs and Corporations: Conflict and Collaboration. By Jonathan Doh and Michael Yaziji. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 2009. 213pp. Index. ISBN 0521866847. This book fills an important gap in the current scholarship. Texts on Nongovernmental Organisations (NGOs) abound, but Doh and Yaziji noted that there was, as yet, no full-length work on the relationships between NGOs and commercial corporations, an issue of growing importance given the increasing complexity of these relationships, and the collaborations and conflicts they engender…
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Download file to see previous pages He negotiated a partnership between the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) – one of the world’s largest and most influential NGOs, and the IMD, but he is also heavily involved in the corporation side of his research interests. He acts as a consultant for several Fortune 100 companies, including Microsoft and Shell, and has spoken at various think-tanks. Yaziji and Doh adopt a sensible division of their work into four clear sections: understanding NGOs, NGO advocacy campaigns, corporate-NGO engagements, and the future of the latter. This division offers a logical structure for the book’s chapters, and a straightforward framework for analysis. The authors begin by asserting the importance of NGOs in the contemporary world, and on this issue, their arguments can scarcely be contested. By naming just a few of the more prominent organisations, including Amnesty International and Greenpeace – the nature of NGOs as major actors in politics, economics and society is clear. Yaziji and Doh (2009, p.xiii) also provide some staggering statistics for the growth of NGOs in recent years, suggesting a 400% increase in the number of international NGOs. No reader can seriously doubt whether a comprehensive work on this subject was necessary. I would credit the authors’ statement that ‘A fuller understanding of the role of business in society requires a comprehensive understanding of these engagements’ (2009, p.xv). oweHowe And Doh and Yaziji certainly provide a comprehensive account. They apply a logical division of material, and create a work which is easy for any reader to negotiate. However, having set themselves the important task of filling the current gap in the literature, something more than a survey of the field would have been appropriate. In theoretical terms, they have moved on the debate, but to a great extent the book feels like a synthesis rather than a useful new analytical framework. The introductory chapter provides a valuable overview of the current status of NGOs and their influence in society, and sets out a valid framework for the analysis that will be pursued throughout the text. However, beyond the introductory chapter and the logical headings used to divide the work into four main areas, there are some crucial structural weaknesses. In the introductory chapter, the authors describe the ‘hazard-strewn’ nature of relationships between NGOs and corporations, nicely summarise some of the key factors that make them so (2009, p.xxiv). For example, NGOs might recoil from the data discovered on being given access to a corporation’s internal audit, while the media coverage generated by such a collaboration has the potential to harm the legitimacy and reputation of an NGO, sometimes damaging it irreparably. Perhaps most fundamentally, there is a basic value difference between most corporations, and most NGOs. The former are working with markets and their values; the latter with social and ethical values. There can be some overlap in their operations, but this fundamental conflict compromises all collaborations. Perhaps this theme could have been developed further, given that it crops up throughout ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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