Optimal membership size and the governance of grassroots associations

Stijn Van Puyvelde, Gert Huybrechts, Jurgen Willems, Marc Jegers, Jemima Bidee, Tim Vantilborgh, Roland Pepermans

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review


This paper explores the link between membership size and the governance of grassroots associations. The issue of mission preference heterogeneity is highlighted and its effect on membership size is analyzed by developing a model and conducting a numerical simulation. An important finding is that the degree of heterogeneity of mission preferences in the potential member population has a negative effect on the optimal number of members of the grassroots association. The paper ends with a discussion of the use of governance mechanisms to limit mission drift.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141 - 147
JournalThe Social Science Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Austrian Classification of Fields of Science and Technology (ÖFOS)

  • 505027 Administrative studies
  • 211903 Science of management
  • 502023 NPO research
  • 605005 Audience research


  • NGOs
  • Nonprofit
  • heterogeneity
  • members
  • mission

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