The Autonomy of Organised Civil Society in Strategic Policy Decision-Making: A Resource-Dependence Perspective

  • Joris De Corte
  • Bram Verschuere
Part of the IIAS Series: Governance and Public Management book series (GPM)


In contemporary welfare states, governments increasingly rely on private actors for delivering public welfare services to citizens (Snavely & Desai, 2001; Salamon, Sokolowski et al., 2004; Anheier, 2005).1 Due to their grass-roots bottom-up nature and rather small scale of operation, non-profit organisations (NPOs) have become appealing partners for public policymakers who wish to involve the organised civil society in the policy process. The argument is that NPOs, by their nature of being exponents of organised civil society, have greater opportunities for tailoring services to clients’ needs and are better able to influence local social behaviour as well (Salamon, 1995; Boris & Steuerle, 1999). For governments that engage with the organised civil society, the key challenge then becomes one of ensuring that NPOs remain publicly accountable for the deployment of sometimes very substantial public funds. Still, this may not reap some of the indisputable benefits attributed to NPOs’ activities that to a large extent derive from their flexibility and autonomy of not just being another arm of government (Huxham, 1995; Boyle & Butler, 2003). This chapter approaches the above issues of NPOs’ accountability and autonomy from the perspective of NPOs involved in publicly funded welfare programs. A large of amount of scholarship has already focused on the impact of governmental interference on the NPOs’ functioning and autonomy, but this discussion remains far from being settled (Toepler, 2010)


Civil Society Strategic Decision Organise Civil Society Nonprofit Sector Organisational Capacity 
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© Joris De Corte and Bram Verschuere 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joris De Corte
  • Bram Verschuere

There are no affiliations available

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