Reputation & NGOs Workshop: Closing thoughts from Mike

by Mike Barnett

Great workshop, with an ideal mix of theory and practice! I took away several key themes:

1) How different is the NGO setting from the corporate setting? We often found ourselves suggesting that existing corporate-focused theory could inform the NGO issues; but we also argued for ways that the NGO setting was different (authenticity? maybe not . . . instrumentality? . . . ).

2) How do we tell the good NGOs from the bad? The NGO sector has a shared reputation, and the acts of some bad NGOs can tar the whole sector.

3) North/South differences. The nature of NGOs differs considerably in developing versus developed countries.

4) Is reputation a constraint on NGO risk-taking and collaboration? The need to take credit and avoid bad press may lead NGOs to avoid the types of collaborations necessary to resolve major social problems.