The Life and Death of Nonprofit Associations: Exploring the Influence of Governance Arrangements

Activity: Talk or presentationScience to science


Much has been written about the life and death of organizations, making it clear that the survival of organizations depends on environmental and organizational factors. This paper adds to this body of knowledge by investigating the effect of governance regulations on the survival chances of nonprofit associations. It contributes to a nuanced understanding of implications of isomorphism (or allomorphism, or automorphism) for organizational survival: Following arguments of Scandinavian institutionalism, we hypothesize that organizations that moderately adapt widespread governance regulations (allomorphism) will have higher chances of survival than organizations that follow their own idiosyncratic governance traditions (automorphism), or that carbon-copy widespread governance regulations (isomorphism). We examine these issues by using representative stratified longitudinal sample of 3000 active surviving and 3000 disbanded or inactive associations in Austria from 2006 to 2017. We find that as hypothesized by Scandinavian institutionalism, associations with allomorphic governance arrangements have higher survival chances than those with isomorphic bylaws. However, quite surprisingly from the perspective of institutional theory, we find that survival chances for organizations with automorphic, i.e., highly idiosyncratic, governance regulations are even higher. We close the paper with an outlook on further steps necessary to fine-tune the empirical analysis.
Period10 Jul 201813 Jul 2018
Event title13th ISTR International Conference
Event typeUnkonwn
Degree of RecognitionInternational