The Role of Professional and Business Associations in Development of Civil Society in Russia

Ekaterina Ivanova

Publication: ThesisDoctoral thesis

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It is generally assumed that the activities of associations based on voluntary membership not only are multi-faceted, but simultaneously contribute to societal, economic, and political spheres. This dissertation draws on an integrated theoretical framework of functions of nonprofit organizations, and then studies the composition of roles that professional and business associations (PBAs) play in Russia's transition to market economy. Moreover, a theoretical framework of environmental embeddedness of nonprofit organizations is applied to examine the forces that drive, as well as hinder, fulfillment of their missions. This study focuses on examination of the relative importance of the advocacy, community building, and service delivery functions fulfilled by business associations, intermediary unions, and liberal professional societies. Moreover, governance, public and political, and socio-economic factors are investigated to determine whether they drive or hinder successful achievement of PBAs' missions. The original empirical data, collected qualitatively from fifteen leading experts on associational activities, is triangulated with quantitative evaluations from 215 associations across Russia. Such an approach allows better interpretation both of the multiplicity of roles played by different types of associations, and of the forces driving and hindering their activities in a country in transition. The results show that the prevailing majority of the examined professional and business associations are multi-functional, simultaneously performing all three major functions. Advocacy is considered the most important function for all types of associations. The governance factors are deemed major drivers of accomplishment of associational missions, while public and political factors are regarded as an obstacle, undermining the potential of PBAs. This study highlights the expressive, rather than service-oriented, character of organized civil society in Russia.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • WU Vienna
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Austrian Classification of Fields of Science and Technology (ÖFOS)

  • 506009 Organisation theory
  • 502023 NPO research
  • 502022 Sustainable economics
  • 504007 Empirical social research

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