Governance, Boards, and Internal Structures of Associations

  • Stijn Van Puyvelde
  • Christopher Cornforth
  • Christophe Dansac
  • GUO Chao
  • Alan Hough
  • David H. Smith


This chapter provides an overview of the existing research on board governance and internal structures in nonprofit membership associations (cf. Smith 2015a, 2015b). It reviews the various theories that have been proposed to model the governance of membership associations, including agency theory, stewardship theory, stakeholder theory, and resource dependence theory. We distinguish between larger associations with some paid staff and smaller, all-volunteer (grassroots) associations. Empirical research on membership incentives, member participation in governance, and democratic governance structures is discussed. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the most important theoretical and practical implications for governing nonprofit membership associations.


Civil Society International Criminal Court Global Governance Global Civil Society Intergovernmental Organization 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stijn Van Puyvelde
    • 1
  • Christopher Cornforth
    • 2
  • Christophe Dansac
    • 3
  • GUO Chao
    • 4
  • Alan Hough
    • 5
  • David H. Smith
    • 6
  1. 1.Belgium
  2. 2.UK
  3. 3.France
  4. 4.China
  5. 5.Australia
  6. 6.USA

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