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Costs and benefits of goal advancement: organisational sustainability in LGBT NGOs in post-same-sex marriage Canada

Ng, Jessica (2021) Costs and benefits of goal advancement: organisational sustainability in LGBT NGOs in post-same-sex marriage Canada. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Identification Number: 10.21953/lse.00004345


What happens when organisations get what they want? How do external shifts which advance organisational goals affect survival? Existing literature on goal advancement tends to conceptualise it as a normatively ‘good’ thing and focuses on how to attain it. What remains undertheorised is how organisations can paradoxically create problems for themselves when they get what they want. This puzzle is particularly important to understand vis-à-vis the third sector and policy change, as states increasingly rely on nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) for social policy provision. Insofar as ‘getting what you want’ via policy change can have unintended consequences for organisational sustainability, it has direct implications for social policy, governance, and the communities these NGOs serve. Despite its growing policy relevance, however, this puzzle remains understudied. This doctoral thesis fills this gap by examining the case of LGBT NGOs in Calgary, Montreal, and Toronto in the context of long-term same-sex marriage legalisation, a policy change widely seen as socially and politically progressive for LGBT equality and one advancing LGBT NGO goals. Drawing upon organisational management, development management, resource dependence, and organisational ecology literatures, this policy-relevant thesis advances scholarly understandings of organisational continuity. Across city cases, I find that structural forces, organisational factors, and policy shift shape resource availability, resource mobilisation, and resource dependencies. But LGBT NGOs are not simply acted upon, instead exercising agency through adaptive behaviour—illustrating this, I introduce a new concept of organisational hibernation, an adaptation to resource scarcity or an evolving policy domain to maintain continuity. But not all adaptations are beneficial: in the post-marriage political economic context, adaptations made for immediate persistence may negatively impact the sustainability of the LGBT NGO sector. Goal advancement via policy change can be costly with broader impacts for continuity of policy provision and LGBT interest representation in policy processes. This thesis contributes to debates in social policy, NGO studies, LGBT politics, and Canadian politics.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2021 Jessica Ng
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
Sets: Departments > Social Policy
Supervisor: Hildebrandt, Timothy and Lewis, David

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